The attorneys representing the family of Rayshard Brooks said in a press conference that a taser is not a deadly weapon and called the Atlanta man’s death in a Wendy’s restaurant parking lot a situation of being “murdered on camera.”
The attorneys spoke in front of a large photo of Brooks, who was shot during a confrontation with Atlanta police officers at a Wendy’s restaurant. The shooting has provoked protests throughout the city, and the police chief has stepped down in the wake of it. You can watch video of their press conference here:
The attorney, L. Chris Stewart, speaking hypothetically to the officer, said,
He (Brooks) wasn’t close enough to harm you with it. You could have run him down but instead he got bullets in the back. A man that earlier that day was celebrating his daughter’s 8th birthday at the arcade. Who has three little girls who are 8, 2, and 1, and a stepson, 13. Who we sat with today and watched them play and laugh and be oblivious to the fact their dad was murdered on camera. A scene that we keep repeating, as we watch Gianna Floyd play in Houston, oblivious that her dad was knelt on and murdered. How many more examples will we need? The cameras isn’t doing it, you all filming it isn’t doing it, covering it isn’t doing it, people protesting isn’t doing it, what is it going to take? How many more examples are we going to get? I actually thought we were going to get over all of this. I thought this was going to finally going to start ending with all these changes.
Authorities earlier in the day released video they said shows Brooks pointing a taser at an officer before a second officer opened fire.
The shooting took place around 10:30 p.m. June 12. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation wrote that it has “obtained additional surveillance video from the Wendy’s restaurant. Agents have also reviewed video posted on social media. These new videos indicate that during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s Tasers and began to flee from the scene. Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks…An earlier account of this incident was based on the officer’s body cam which was knocked off during the physical struggle, preventing the capture of the entire shooting incident.”
You can see that video here:
Here’s what you need to know:
The Family’s Lawyer Said Officers Didn’t Immediately Check Brooks’ Pulse & It Was Time for ‘Complete, Systemic Change’
The family’s lawyer noted that the police chief had resigned and said he theorized that “maybe she even realized, what more could I do training wise? They know they shouldn’t have done that. Do we need to start over and rehire all of the officers to retrain them? What other options do we have. The problem is that they’ve been given leeway to use lethal force all too often and too long and this is what we’re left with.”
He said multiple witnesses were at the scene who said “the officers went and put on plastic gloves and picked up their shell casings after they killed him before rendering aid. We counted 2 minutes and 16 seconds before they even checked his pulse. And people wonder why everyone is mad. Just watch the video as he lays there dying as the officers stand around, one…flips him over.”
Stewart said officers might have picked up shell casings so people couldn’t see “how far away they were when shot or find the positions,” although this is not proven.
He said he agrees with the mayor that the officer who fired his weapon should be terminated and also be prosecuted. The family met with the District Attorney. “We want justice. But I don’t even know what that is, and I’ve been doing this 15 years. I don’t even know what it is anymore.. I know this isn’t justice what’s happening in society right now. There’s just not much more we can say or do as society,” said Stewart.
He said it was time for “complete, systematic change,” adding that, in other cases, white people with deadly weapons didn’t “get killed.”
He said Rayshard was shot as “he was running.”
“We’re so concerned trying to find a vaccine for the coronavirus…but nobody is trying to find a vaccine for civil rights” violations. “Noone’s trying to find a vaccine to find out why officers pull the trigger so quickly on African Americans. There’s no flood of money…trying to end that epidemic,” said Stewart.
He added, “We will fight for justice. Try to get the cop arrested…sue the city and see if they will settle. I don’t know. But we’re just tired. And if you don’t understand because you may be a different color, you may be a different gender, you may not be from Georgia, then you may be the problem.”
A second lawyer said that families are asking for “empathy. Just a little empathy. If this officer today had been a little more empathetic and a bit less scared, then we probably wouldn’t have a dead client, and we wouldn’t be here talking to you like we are right now. There are a lot of systemic things wrong with policing in this country.”
He added, “We are tired. We will keep doing this as long as there is a need, but we don’t want there to be a need… the first failing I saw when I saw this tape was training…if a taser isn’t a deadly weapon, then it’s not a deadly weapon when I have it, when an officer has it, when anyone else has it.”
He said there were “two officers, one of him,” and he disputed that a taser is a deadly weapon. He added that leadership failed. “Maybe the police chief needed to resign because whatever they’re doing it from the top, it’s not reaching the bottom.”
He said “policing in this country and city needs to change to something more community-based and empathetic…the way they are policing our community is wrong. It’s causing death and we’re not going to stand for it anymore.”
He said people are scared for things – buildings, stores, restaurants. “But the lives of these people… of Americans, of black people, of human beings are in my opinion more important than any store or restaurant.”
“I don’t know those two officers personally, but just from watching the tape I could tell they were scared,” the officer added. He said if “you have fear, you don’t need to be a police officer. If you don’t understand the community you’re policing in, you don’t need to be a police officer.”
He said a police officer “is as much of a counselor as anything else.”
GBI also wrote:
Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 10:33 pm, APD was dispatched to the Wendy’s located at 125 University Ave, Atlanta, GA. Officers were responding to a complaint of a male in a vehicle parked in the drive thru asleep, causing other customers to drive around the vehicle. A field sobriety test was performed on the male subject. After failing the test, the officers attempted to place the male subject into custody. During the arrest, the male subject resisted and a struggle ensued. The officer deployed a Taser. Witnesses report that during the struggle the male subject grabbed and was in possession of the Taser. It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser.