Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer
Atlanta’s top prosecutor said his office will decide this week whether to bring charges against the police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks, whose killing Friday sparked a fresh wave of protests against police violence in the southern city and added fuel to nationwide anger over racial injustice. Family members on Sunday recalled Brooks as a good father who was getting his life back together when he was shot and killed in a confrontation with Garrett Rolfe and another Atlanta police officer after a DUI stop.
The officer accused of killing Rayshard Brooks was moved from a jail to a different facility in Atlanta over security concerns hours before he appears in court Friday. © Fulton County Sheriff's Department Booing photos fro APD Police Officers Garrett Rolfe, left, and Devin Brosnan
Garrett Rolfe was terminated as a city officer following the shooting at a Wendy's drive-through last week. He faces felony murder and 10 other charges in Brooks' death, which reignited a wave of protests nationwide against police brutality.
Rolfe was moved from the Fulton County Jail to another facility in metro Atlanta for security reasons, three law enforcement sources told CNN. He turned himself in Thursday and is being held without bond.
Videos show man went from speaking of visiting mom's grave to being killed by police
Before being shot to death by an Atlanta police officer outside a fast food restaurant, Rayshard Brooks had a cordial conversation with the officers, videos show. The shooting of Brooks, who is black, on Friday night sparked new protests and an arson fire at the Wendy's where the confrontation started and escalated into the use of lethal force. It came on the heels of days of protests in Atlanta and across the nation over the officer-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly standing on Brooks' shoulders as he lay dying in the parking lot.
Officer says he has faith in the justice system
Both officers had gone to the fast-food restaurant to respond to a complaint that Brooks, 27, was parked and asleep in the drive-through lane. He failed a sobriety test, and when they tried to arrest him, he scuffled with them and grabbed Brosnan's Taser, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. © Brynn Anderson/AP Former officer Devin Brosnan walks out of the Fulton County Jail on bail after his release Thursday.
A video of the incident shows Brooks running as he appears to point the Taser in the direction of Rolfe, who shoots him twice in the back.
New York City police reassigning 600 anti-crime unit officers to other duties
The New York Police Department will immediately reassign some 600 plainclothes officers in its anti-crime unit to other duties, including its detective bureau and community policing, Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Monday. Amid the global protests against racism, the death of a 27-year-old African American man Rayshard Brooks, who was shot by a police officer, sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta, Georgia. Authorities said the slain man had grabbed an officer's taser but was running away when he was shot. As nationwide protests slowed in the death of George Floyd, anger again erupted in the city over the fatal shooting.
Attorneys for both men issued forceful statements defending their clients' actions that night. In an interview with MSNBC, Brosnan said he has "full faith" in the criminal justice system.
"I think this is a tragic event and it's ... a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night," he said. "My initial encounter with him, I felt he was friendly. He was respectful. ... He seemed like someone who potentially needed my help. I was really just there to see what I could do for him, make sure he was safe."
Brosnan's attorneys criticized the rush to charge their client, saying he briefly put his foot on Brooks' arm to make sure he did not access a weapon. They said he also performed CPR, put anticoagulant in Brooks' wounds and applied compression bandages.
He's cooperated with all investigators and plans to meet with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation next week. But he's not going to answer the district attorney's questions while they bring false charges against him, his lawyer Don Samuel said.
More Than 2,000 Black People Were Killed by White Mobs During Reconstruction, New Study Shows
In the fall of 1870, Guilford Coleman, a black man, was abducted from his home in Alabama, beaten to death and thrown into a well for having voted at a political convention to nominate a Republican governor. The message was received, according to local newspaper accounts: Those in favor of Reconstruction dared “not canvass the district, lest they lose their lives.” Mr. Coleman’s murder, one of thousands carried out by white mobs after the Civil War, is documented in a new report by the Equal Justice Initiative, a 31-year-old legal advocacy group based in Montgomery, Ala., that is dedicated to exposing the country’s legacy of lynching and white supremacist terror.
In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Thursday night, the district attorney reiterated that he expects Brosnan to cooperate with prosecutors.
"I realize that this young man is ... getting a lot of pressure from a lot of groups and some of his colleagues," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. "My expectation is when we move to the next level, I would expect him to follow through with what he has already promised."
Brosnan also faces two counts of violation of oath of office. He was released on a signature bond after turning himself in Thursday.
Some officers refuse to leave precinct
If convicted of felony murder, Rolfe faces death. But Howard said he'll not seek capital punishment.
He also faces five counts of aggravated assault, four counts of violating his oath of office and one count of criminal damage to property.
Prosecutors have said he kicked Brooks as he lay on the ground fighting for his life. But his attorneys have demanded to see a video of him doing that -- not just the still photo released by Howard.
"If there was a video of my client kicking Mr. Brooks, you would have seen it," attorney Lance LoRusso told Fox News. "(Howard) shows a still, and one leg is planted and the other one's bent. He could be leaning down to try to give him first aid. It could have been when he was trying to evaluate whether he needed handcuffs."
Rayshard Brooks: 1 officer surrenders to police, other has hours left to turn himself in
Rayshard Brooks: 1 officer surrenders to police, other has hours left to turn himself inAtlanta Police officer Devin Brosnan surrendered Thursday morning. Former officer Garrett Rolfe has until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Rolfe reacted after he thought he "heard a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him," and feared for his safety and that of the civilians around him, his attorneys said.
Brooks' family applauded the charges against the officers as a good first step, but said they don't guarantee a conviction.
"This is not the finish line. This is the starting point. Yes, we appreciate and we commend the DA's office for charging these officers appropriately, but that's just step one," attorney Justin Miller said. "As you know, that doesn't always result in convictions."
Since the charges, many officers in one of Atlanta's six police zones have not showed up for work, according to police officers who don't want to be named.
The department denied it, but a police union director backed the accounts by CNN sources. In some instances, officers were refusing to leave their precincts unless a fellow police officer required backup.
Rayshard Brooks struggled in system but didn't hide his past .
ATLANTA (AP) — Rayshard Brooks didn’t hide his history. About five months before he was killed by Atlanta police in a Wendy’s parking lot — before his name and case would become the latest rallying point in a massive call for racial justice and equality nationwide — Brooks gave an interview to an advocacy group about his years of struggle in the criminal justice system. He described an agonizing cycle of job rejection and public shame over his record and association with a system that takes millions of Americans, many of them Black like him, away from their families and treats them more like animals than individuals.