A former Atlanta police officer is facing felony charges after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot last week.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges against Garrett Rolfe, who was fired over the weekend, on Wednesday. Rolfe is facing 11 counts, including felony murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Rolfe’s partner who was present during Brooks’ shooting, Devin Brosnan, is facing three charges and has been placed on administrative leave, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Rolfe killed Brooks late on Friday night after responding to a call from a Wendy’s employee that a man had fallen asleep behind the wheel in his car in the drive-through and was obstructing traffic. The officers ran Brooks through a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer that pegged Brooks’ blood alcohol concentration at .108%, according to body cam footage released by the Atlanta police department. The legal limit to drive is .08%.
After cooperating for nearly half an hour, Brooks fought with the officers as they tried to place him in handcuffs. All three struggled and fell to the ground where Brooks managed to take Brosnan’s taser and escape the officers. Rolfe shot after Brooks fired the stolen taser at him.
Rolfe and Brosnan responded to the charges in statements given by their respective attorneys, according to WXIA.
“The decision to initiate charges by the Fulton County DA’s office is irrational and obviously based on factors which should have nothing to do with the proper administration of justice,” Brosnan’s attorney said. “This was not a rush to judgment. This was a rush to misjudgment.”
“Officer Rolfe is well known to the courts and there is no compelling reason to bring any charges against them before the GBI has completed its investigation and published its findings,” Rolfe’s attorney said.
Brooks’ shooting sparked protests in the city of Atlanta and local officials criticized and cracked down on the officers involved. Atlanta police chief Erika Shields resigned on Saturday over the incident.
“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department,” Shields said, according to CBS 46. “I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
A day later, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that Brooks’ killing was “murder.” Bottoms sharp criticism of police officers’ conduct comes amid nationwide protests and riots over police brutality and alleged systemic police racism after the death of George Floyd. Morale among Atlanta police has plummeted in recent weeks and eight city police officers have resigned since June 1. Two to six resign in a typical month.