A disturbing photo and video show Officer Garrett Rolfe kicking Rayshard Brooks after shooting him, the Fulton County District Attorney said June 17 as he announced a slew of criminal charges against the officer. The other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, admitted standing on Brooks’ body after Brooks was shot, according to the DA. Be forewarned that the images are disturbing.
However, the officer’s lawyer denies that he kicked Brooks. “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.”
Here’s the disturbing photo:
This video did emerge:
Here’s the moment Brosnan stood on Brooks. Brosnan’s lawyer told CNN that Brosnan “placed his foot on Brooks to make sure he ‘didn’t have access to a weapon,'” according to CBS News and also said Brosnan fell, suffered a concussion, and didn’t realize at first that Brooks was shot.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, in announcing the charges, described Brooks as not being a threat because he was cooperative initially with officers. “Mr. Brooks never displayed any aggressive behavior” during the 41 minutes and 17 seconds with the officers before they tried to put handcuffs on him, the DA said. The DA said that Brooks was 18 feet, 3 inches away and running away when Rolfe shot him. He accused Rolfe of not immediately giving Brooks medical aid.
“Brooks never presented himself as a threat,” Howard said. Brooks was shot twice in the back, according to AJC.com.
The DA announced that Rolfe will face 11 charges, including felony murder with an underlying offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property, violation of his oath and aggravated assault for kicking Brooks when he was on the ground, according to Howard. If Rolfe is convicted, he faces the death penalty or life in prison, the DA said in a news conference.
Rolfe’s attorneys released a statement saying that “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,” according to AJC.
According to journalist Doug Dunbar of CBS 11, “DA shares a still image of officer Garrett Rolfe who shot #RayshardBrooks kicking Brooks after he went down. Second image shows 2nd officer standing on top of Brooks after being shot. 2nd officer has admitted this and has offered to testify against officer Rolfe.” Brosnan is facing three charges as well, including aggravated assault for standing on Rayshard Brooks’ shoulder. He’s cooperating with the state.
Rolfe, the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Brooks, was previously fired as the city erupted in protests and riots in the wake of Brooks’ death outside a Wendy’s restaurant. Brosnan, who was at the scene but didn’t fire, was initially placed on administrative leave.
Here’s what you need to know:
Body Cam Video Showed Brooks With One of the Officer’s Tasers
Body cam video from the scene was released previously.
The shooting took place around 10:30 p.m. June 12. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation wrote that it had “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.”
Stephanie Walsh, an ABC producer, wrote, “Officer Garrett Rolfe has been terminated by Atlanta PD in the Officer-involved shooting of #RayshardBrooks. He had been on the job since 2013, according to Atlanta PD.” The Atlanta department previously noted on Facebook that Rolfe was part of the Atlanta Police Department’s High Intensity Traffic Team Unit, mentioning that unit “for their recognition during the 15th Annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Golden Shield Honors.”
“The HITT Unit works to reduce the number of traffic related injuries and deaths in the City of Atlanta, especially involving impaired drivers. (Another officer and) Officer Garrett Rolfe were awarded silver pins for making between 50 to 99 Driving Under the Influence arrests in the past year. We thank the unit for making our roads saver for all of Atlanta’s drivers.”
In a 2019 post, Atlanta police referenced Rolfe, writing, “The @Chickfila Kickoff Game between Alabama Football and Duke Football just started. Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe from the High Intensity Traffic Team (HITT) unit and (another officer) from the Auto Crimes Enforcement (ACE) unit wish Bama good luck. Welcome to Atlanta. #RollTide #Atlanta #LaborDayWeekend.” A local radio station gave a donation to Rolfe as part of an effort to help officers enrolled full-time in college while they served.
According to AJC, Rolfe, in April, “took a nine-hour course on de-escalation options…on Jan. 9, Rolfe was trained on the use of deadly force at the DeKalb County police academy.”
A local defense attorney who specializes in DUI previously wrote, “Atlanta Police recently announced receiving a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for a H.E.A.T. unit concentrating on DUI detection. (Another officer), Garrett Rolfe, (and two other officers) will be part of the H.E.A.T. unit.”
Here are some of the videos showing the Wendy’s on fire as unrest broke out throughout Atlanta in the wake of the shooting:
Authorities said previously that, after struggling with officers and taking an officer’s taser, Brooks pointed it at Brosnan before Rolfe fired and killed him.
You can see that video here:
The news of Rolfe’s firing came after the police chief resigned and the mayor called for the officer’s termination.
The Family’s Lawyer Says That Brooks Wasn’t Close Enough to Harm the Officers
The attorneys representing the family of Rayshard Brooks said in a previous 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 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.
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.”
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.