Officer Charged With Felony Murder In Rayshard Brooks' Death

by Madison Vanderberg
Officer Charged With Felony Murder In Rayshard Brooks' Death
Good Morning America/Youtube

Fulton County DA has charged ex-officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Rayshard Brooks, with felony murder

Paul Howard, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, has charged former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe with felony murder after he fatally shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday night.

During a press conference on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, Howard listed his findings after investigating the bodycam footage. He concluded that Brooks was peacefully sleeping in his car when the officers arrived, that he did not have a weapon, and he never displayed any aggressive behavior. Then, Howard points out that after officer Rolfe shot Brooks, Rolfe and fellow officer Devin Brosnan failed to provide timely medical treatment for two minutes and 12 seconds, and Rolfe was even heard excitedly uttering “I got him.”

Based on Brooks’ behavior before his death and the officers’ reactions after they shot him, Howard concluded that Brooks did not present an immediate threat of death to either of the officers and thereby their use of excessive and fatal force was not warranted. In the wake of Brooks’ death, the Atlanta police chief resigned.

Ex-officer Garrett Rolfe who ultimately shot and killed Brooks has been charged with felony murder by way of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His potential sentence for that would be life, life without parole, or the death penalty. He’s also facing seven other charges, which include him shooting at, or in the direction of, the two passengers who were also in Brooks’ car that night.

Officer Devin Brosnan is also being charged with aggravated assault for stepping or Brooks’ shoulder and violation of oath as his behavior would fall under “unauthorized weaponless control technique.” In a surprising move, Brosnan has become a state witness and will actually testify against Rolfe and cooperate with the investigators. Together, the two officers face 11 combined charges.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (via The New York Times) originally reported that police fatally shot Brooks outside a Wendy’s on Friday, June 12, 2020, after responding to a call of a man sleeping in his car. When officers arrived, they reportedly gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he failed. They stated Brooks then resisted arrest and struggled for one of the officer’s Tasers, which he got ahold of. He broke free and tried running away which is when police shot and killed him, despite the fact that a Taser isn’t considered a deadly weapon, which — in part — contributed to the district attorney’s charges today.

Howard has asked the officers to surrender themselves by tomorrow at 6 p.m. and he is recommending that Rolfe be held without bond.