ATLANTA, GA—Garrett Rolfe, 27, the Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, 27, was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault as well as nine other charges on Wednesday, June, 17, by the Fulton County District Attorney.
A warrant for Rolfe’s arrests has been made along with one for Devin Brosnan, the other officer present during the altercation. Brosnan is facing three charges of aggravated assault, but will step forward as a cooperating state witness for the case.
District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said the charges come after eight video examinations and eye-witness accounts were taken into consideration when determining the charges.
Howard in a press conference said that at no time during the 41-minute interaction Brooks ever “presented himself as a threat,” and noted his cooperative behavior.
Brooks was pulled over on June 12 in a Wendy’s parking lot for a DUI examination after being found asleep in the restaurant’s drive-thru line. The interaction was cordial for 41 minutes and 17 seconds until Rolfe attempted to handcuff Brooks and he resisted. The two officers struggled to get Brooks to the ground. Once the officers got a hold of him, Brooks reached for a taser despite warning from Rolfe who stated, “hands off the taser!”
Brooks swung and hit Rolfe in the face, managed to escape their control and fled toward the street with the taser still in hand. Moments later Brooks is seen on the surveillance tape from the Wendy’s restaurant aiming the taser back at officer Rolfe. Rolfe drops his taser and reaches for his handgun. Three shots are fired and two were reported to have hit Brooks in the back resulting in a fatality.
Previous reports say Brooks did not pass the sobriety test. Howard notes that video evidence suggests that Brooks was never made aware that he was being arrested during the incident.
Howard said neither officer called for immediate medical help while standing over the body of Brooks while he laid on the ground. According to Howard, both attorney’s for the officers suggest they offered aid, called an ambulance and gave CPR.
Rolfe’s lawyers assert the officer acted out of fear for his safety and others after seeing a bright light flash towards his direction and hearing loud pops, deeming his actions justifiable. The bright light flash was the taser being fired in the direction of his head.
“Mr. Brooks violently attacked two officers and disarmed one of them. When Mr. Brooks turned and pointed an object at Officer Rolfe, any officer would have reasonably believed that he intended to disarm, disable or seriously injure him,” the lawyers said.
Rolfe, who was fired after the incident, has been on the police force for seven years with over 2,000 hours of training. Brosnan has been on the force for two years and was placed on administrative leave.
Howard says he expects the case to be presented to a Grand Jury by January or February 2021. If convicted, the former police officer can face life in prison or the death penalty.