Atlanta, GA – Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has announced seven felony charges – including murder – against former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe who shot fatally shot Rayshard Brooks at Wendy’s on Friday night.
At the press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Howard also announced three felony charges against Atlanta Police Officer Devin Brosnan including aggravated assault, but announced that Officer Brosnan had become a state’s witness and was prepared to testify against former Officer Rolfe.
The district attorney said Officer Brosnan was “one of the first police officers to actually indicate he is willing to testify against someone in his own department.”
Both men have been asked to turn themselves in before 6 p.m. on Thursday, and Howard said he would recommend that Officer Brosnan be released on a signature bond.
The district attorney said he would ask that Rolfe be held without bond.
Howard said investigators reviewed eight videos, two police bodycams, two vehicle dashcams, Wendy’s surveillance video, and three cell phone videos, in addition to interviewing numerous witnesses who were at the scene.
The district attorney said they investigated the Tasers and talked to the company who manufactured them, and determined Rolfe knew that the Taser Brooks had stolen had already been fired twice when he shot Brooks, meaning that he knew that Brooks was no longer a threat to him when he shot him.
“We have also concluded that the Taser in Brooks possession had been fired twice meaning it couldn’t be fired again and presented no threat to the officers,” he said.
Howard said “Mr. Brooks was calm, he was cordial” and “almost jovial” and that for 41 minutes and 17 seconds he followed instructions.
He said that neither Rolfe nor Officer Brosnan informed Brooks that he was under arrest for driving under the influence before they tried to arrest him, in violation of department procedure.
“We concluded and considered it as one of our important consideration that Mr. Brooks never presented himself as a threat,” Howard said.
Brooks “never displayed any aggressive behavior during the first 41 min and 17 seconds,” he said.
The district attorney said that officers violated department policy and violated their oath of office when they failed to provide timely medical attention to Brooks after he was shot.
It is not a crime to violate department policy.
Howard said videos showed the officers waited two minutes and 10 seconds before they rendered aid, and during that time “Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he was lying on the ground fighting for his life.”
“Officer Brosnan actually stood on Mr. Brooks shoulder while he was there struggling for his life,” the district attorney told reporters.
He said the demeanor of the officers after Brooks was shot reflected “other kinds of emotion.”
“We have concluded that at the time Mr. Brooks was shot. He did not pose any immediate threat to the officer or officer,” Howard said.
Howard said he had warrants for 11 charges against Rolfe, including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, multiple counts of aggravated assault (including against people sitting in other vehicles struck by gunfire), criminal damage, and seven violations of his oath of office.
Officer Brosnan is facing three felony charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, he said.
Howard said that Officer Brosnan had said through his attorney that he was “plans to make a statement against Officer Rolfe;” however, he hadn’t been in the right psychological place to do so, yet.
The district attorney lauded Officer Brosnan’s decision to “break the wall of silence” and testify against a former fellow officer.
However, his attorney, Don Samuel, told reporters shortly after the press conference that his client had agreed to none of what Howard had claimed.
Don Samuel, a lawyer for Officer Devin Brosnan, says his client has not agreed to be a state’s witness, as District Attorney Paul Howard said, or to plead guilty to the charges. #RayshardBrooks
— Bill Rankin (@ajccourts) June 17, 2020
The incident started when police received a call at around 10:33 p.m. on June 12 for a man asleep in his car blocking the Wendy’s drive-thru off University Ave near I-75/85, according to WXIA.
Officers arrived and contacted the suspect, later identified as the 27-year old Brooks, and administered field sobriety tests.
Bodycam video showed that Brooks was passed out in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, blocking the Wendy’s drive-thru line, when police arrived.
The bodycam depicts Atlanta Police Officer Devin Brosnan as having no desire to deal with Brooks.
Officer Brosnan initially told Brooks to park in a parking spot if he wanted to sleep, but the incident turned into a DUI investigation after Officer Brosnan smelled the odor of liquor.
“I don’t want to deal with this dude right now,” Officer Brosnan said to himself before starting the DUI investigation, according to bodycam video.
Brooks admitted to drinking and slurred his words as he spoke, the video showed.
Officer Garrett Rolfe arrived on scene and administered field sobriety tests.
At the conclusion of field sobriety tests, Brooks consented to a preliminary breath test which showed a reading of .108% BAC, which is above the legal limit.
Officers advised Brooks that he was under arrest and attempted to take him into custody and that’s when he started fighting.
Brooks was successfully able to fight off the two officers while disarming one officer of his Taser.
Once Brooks was able to break free of the officers, he took off running with the Taser in his hand.
Officer Rolfe chased close behind, attempting to Tase Brooks.
Both officers then chased Brooks out of view of the cell phone camera when gunshots rang out.
Surveillance video shows that Brooks turned over his shoulder and fired the Taser at Officer Rolfe.
That’s when Officer Rolfe shot Brooks with his service weapon.
Brooks was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died after surgery, according to WXIA.
“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do, and what you should do,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the next day.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force, and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” the mayor continued.
Officer Brosnan was placed on desk duty pending investigation, the Associated Press reported.
It’s not clear if Officer Rolfe actually violated any policy.
“What has become abundantly clear over the last couple of weeks in Atlanta, is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect, and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect,” Mayor Bottoms said.
The mayor then announced that because Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields wants Atlanta to be a model of reform, Chief Shields has resigned from her position.
On Saturday night, rioters burned the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was killed to the ground.
Despite the fact that the bodycam video clearly showed Brooks firing the Taser at officers before he was shot, the Fulton County DA opined on Sunday that the drunk driver was no threat to police.
“(Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable,” DA Paul Howard told CNN. “It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident that should have led to someone’s death.”
At least eight Atlanta police officers resigned in disgust after Officer Rolfe was fired.
Two former Atlanta police officers filed suit after they were fired following an incident that involved the arrest of two college students during a curfew crackdown.
Six officers have been charged in that incident, with the district attorney charging the officers’ use of Tasers during the arrest “aggravated assault.”
However, a week later Howard determined that Brooks was not a threat to officers after he stole a Taser and fired it at police.