On June 12, 2020, at 10:30 pm, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, a black man, fell asleep in his car while in a Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta, Georgia. An unidentified Wendy’s employee called the police because Brooks was blocking the drive-thru. Upon arrival, Officer Devan Brosnan revived Brooks and asked him to move his car into the parking lot, which Brooks did. Brosnan then asked Officer Garret Rolfe, a DUI specialist — with a record of complaints, most of which he was exonerated from — to assist in assessing Brooks’ condition with a breathalyzer test. Brooks cooperated with the officer. The test revealed an elevated blood alcohol level of .108. It is a crime to drive with a blood-alcohol level above .08. Officer Rolfe then proceeded to arrest Brooks.
Brooks was cooperative until Rolfe tried to handcuff him. That is when Brooks committed his second crime of resisting arrest. A struggle ensued, Rolfe discharged his taser, and Brooks was unfazed. Brooks then grabbed a taser and possibly discharged it into Brosnan, and then ran away. Rolfe pursued Brooks and fired his taser. Brooks then turned and fired the taser at the officer who was within ten feet of Brooks. Rolfe then fired three shots, two of which hit Brooks in the back. Brooks went down and both officers rushed to him and then rendered aid. Brooks died on the scene.
The fallout was immediate. Officer Rolfe was fired, and the Atlanta chief of police immediately resigned.
There are many headlines about Rolfe’s history of complaints but none about Brooks’ criminal record. Rolfe was exonerated from 9 of the 12 complaints against him, and he received one reprimand for excessive use of force in 2017. Brooks’ charges include family battery, possessing weapons during a crime, felony cruelty to children, and false imprisonment,
A rush to “misjudgment”
The Fulton County District Attorney, Paul Howard, in a rush to judgment, is charging Rolfe with eleven crimes, including “felony murder” which requires the death penalty or life in prison. Both Devin Brosnan and Garret Rolfe voluntarily turned themselves in.
Not surprisingly, some police officers in Atlanta are protesting the treatment of their fellow officers. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms immediately announced her position on the shooting, saying she believed that the force used against Brooks was not justified.
In such a climate, it is not surprising that police officers might not want to work, knowing that if they enforce the law, their lives could be ruined. But when police officers didn’t show up for work, the mayor scolded them calling them to fulfill their commitment while trying to reassure her citizens that they would still be safe.
We do have enough officers to cover us through the night. Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out. But it is just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigation
At least the Georgia Bureau of Investigation still believes in its mission to establish the truth so that justice can be had by all. They made a statement about the DA’s rush to judgment while affirming the need for a thorough investigation.
BREAKING: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it was blindsided by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard & unaware of plan to file charges against the officers involved in the Rayshard Brooks case while the agency was still conducting its investigation. pic.twitter.com/7XNEsmgHp5
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 17, 2020
Watch the bodycam footage of the incident:
If you were a policeman in Atlanta, would you go to work? Scroll down to the comments section and let us know what you think!