Conservative commentator and political activist Candace Owens, who said calling George Floyd a martyr is “bulls**t,” now says Garrett Rolfe, the Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, was unjustly fired.
Rolfe shot and killed Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, after Brooks fought with Rolfe and another officer on the scene, Devin Bronsan, and — according to Rolfe in his body camera footage — took a Taser. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Brooks was sleeping in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru when someone called the police to complain. When police arrived, there was a struggle that ended with Brooks dead.
According to local TV news station 13 WMAZ, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for the officer who fired his weapon to be fired and the Atlanta Police Department later announced that Rolfe had been fired; Bronsan has been placed on administrative leave.
Owens, a liberal-turned-conservative, is also a supporter of President Donald Trump and has been a leader of the “Blexit” movement, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the advancement of urban and minority communities.”
Owens Says Those ‘Demanding Justice’ for Brooks Represent ‘the Absolute Vermin of American Society’
— BLEXIT movement (@BLEXIT) June 14, 2020
As protests calling for police reform and racial equity have swept across the country, Owens recently tweeted her support of the #BacktheBlue movement, an activist campaign to support local police meant to “defend their honor” against “radical leftist protesters constantly vilifying our local heroes.” In another tweet, Owens said Black Lives Matter — a group that describes its mission as “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” — supports criminals. In the same tweet, she said she wants to create a fund for the officer terminated in the incident.
Black Lives Matter supports criminals. #BLEXIT supports Police Officers.
We are working on building out a fund that will go live tomorrow for officers that are unjustly terminated.
Can someone please get me the name of the officer that was fired for #RayshardBrooks incident?
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 14, 2020
In another tweet, Owens said Bottoms should resign for “placating CRIMINALS”:
Any person demanding justice for #RayshardBrooks is representative of the absolute vermin of American society. There should be protests DEMANDING that the police chief be reinstated and that mayor @KeishaBottoms RESIGN for placating CRIMINALS.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 14, 2020
Owens’ comments follow a recent video in which she said the response to Floyd’s death was representative of a “broken black culture” that is quick to “celebrate criminals.” She also described black culture as “embarrassing in that regard.”
“This is why we have a cycle and a toxic culture because nobody wants to tell the truth and black America. It is so easy to be effective it is so easy to ask white people to bow down and apologize and do all these things for us. It is crap.”
Multiple Videos Show the Interaction Between Rolfe, Bronsan & Brooks Unfold
A brief video shows Brooks on the ground stiffening his left arm and refusing to allow the officer in front of him to push the arm behind his back; an officer behind Brooks is holding Brooks’ torso. The scuffle on the ground ends when Brooks stands with something yellow in his right hand that police say is a Taser and one of the officers points a similar Taser-like item at Brooks. Brooks begins running away from the officers, past the camera and out of the frame, while the two officers chase him.
Wendy’s surveillance video picks up after the three men run out of the frame of the first video. It shows Brooks running. He turns back towards the officers chasing him for a second, then turns his body away from the officers again. At the same time, the officer nearest to Brooks appears to have his arm raised. Rolfe’s body camera recorded him saying Brooks “definitely” shot a Taser at him “at least once.”
The bodycam footage also shows Rolfe giving Brooks a breathalyzer, telling him he thinks he’s had too much to drink and asking him to put his hands behind his back. At that point, Brooks attempts to wrestle his left arm out of Rolfe’s grip and a scuffle ensues, during which Rolfe’s body camera became detached from his body, the Associated Press reported. The officers can be heard issuing multiple orders and warnings:
“You’re going to get tased.”
“You’re going to get f**king tased.”
“Hands off the taser.”
“He’s got my f**ing taser.”
Then, “Put your hands behind your back” and again, “Stop fighting!”
Rolfe Had Completed Use-of-Force Training Earlier in the Year
Rolfe joined the Atlanta Police Department in 2013 after completing the training academy, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2019, Rolfe was part of the APD’s High-Intensity Traffic Team Unit, meant to reduce traffic-related injuries from impaired drivers.
He was one of five officers to be honored at the 15th Annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Golden Shield Honors and he won a pin for making 50-99 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests — the same offense Brooks was accused of committing.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that Rolfe had taken a nine-hour course on de-escalation options on April 24 and on January 8 he received training on the use of deadly force at the DeKalb County police academy.