Atlanta Special Prosecutor Says Officers ‘Committed No Crimes’ in Rayshard Brooks’ Killing
The officers originally charged with killing Rayshard Brooks in 2020 “committed no crime,” according to a special prosecutor in the case. The new decision is a stark contrast to the charges imposed on former officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan by the previous Fulton County District Attorney.
Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia executive director Pete Skandalakis stated in his decision that the officer’s use of deadly force on the unarmed 27-year-old Black man was “reasonable.”
“Both acted as reasonable officers would under the facts and circumstances of the events of that night,” Skandalakis said, per CNN. “Both acted in accordance with well-established law and were justified in the use of force regarding the situation.”
Previous D.A. Paul Howard, who was voted out of office early last year citing conflicts of interest, had charged Rolfe with felony murder and Brosnan with aggravated assault.
“This was not an Ahmaud Arbery who was being chased by armed citizens. This was not a George Floyd who was on the ground with an officer kneeling on his neck,” Skandalakis said. “This is not that case. These facts are distinguishable and distinct from what happened in those two situations.”
On Friday, June 12, 2020, Brooks was shot by Rolfe after police roused him from his car, where he had fallen asleep in an Atlanta Wendy’s drive-through. According to the New York Times, Rolfe and Brosnan arrived on the scene, where they questioned Brooks about whether or not he had been drinking and administered a sobriety test.
When they asked him to take a breath test, Brooks offered to walk home, but the officers refused — after the test, the cops deemed him too drunk to drive and tried to handcuff him. Brooks started to struggle and grabbed a Taser from Brosnan, at which point Rolfe tased Brooks. Brooks then ran away and after a faulty attempt to tase the cops, Rolfe shot him. Brooks died at the hospital, with his cause of death listed as a homicide.
“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said of the incident at the time. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.” (Bottoms is now the director of the office of public engagement for Preisdent Joe Biden.)