UPDATE (6/18): Police officer Devin Brosnan’s lawyer, Don Samuel, has told Rolling Stone that Brosnan does not plan to become a state’s witness in the killing of Rayshard Brooks, despite what Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said during Wednesday’s press conference.
“The decision to initiate charges by the Fulton County DA’s office is irrational and obviously based on factors that should have nothing to do with the proper administration of justice,” Samuel said in a statement. “Shame on the District Attorney for this abuse of his charging power. Shame on the District Attorney for not honoring his oath to uphold the constitution. Shame on the District Attorney for this rush to misjudgment.”
Garrett Rolfe — the police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks last Friday — will face a total of 11 charges following Brooks’ death, including felony murder, aggravated assault and seven violations of his oath of office. He has not been granted a bond.
Rolfe’s partner, Devin Brosnan, was also charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath. Moreover, Brosnan has now come forward as a state’s witness. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Officer Rolfe facing 11 total charges – including felony murder pic.twitter.com/I9K6gm5HxJ
— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) June 17, 2020
Howard outlined the evidence that his office had for their investigation, including plentiful video and witnesses. He then pointed out that Rolfe kicked Brooks after shooting him and Brosnan stood on his shoulders as the man struggled for breath, highlighting that Brooks did not pose any danger to the officers before or after he was shot. When Rolfe shot Brooks, he exclaimed: “I got him!” Brosnan plans to make a statement about Rolfe’s actions during the attempted arrest and admitted to standing on Brooks’ body, Howard said.
Lawyers for Brooks’ family did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
On Friday, June 12th, Brooks, 27, 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, Officers 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.
By Saturday night, the Wendy’s franchise was in flames and protesters marched near the restaurant; meanwhile, Chief of Police Erika Shields resigned. On Sunday, Sergeant John Chafee, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, announced that Rolfe had been fired and Brosnan placed on administrative leave.
“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,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta said of the incident. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.”
Brooks’ death comes in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, whose death resulted in protests around the country and world.