Atlanta, GA – Three months after a special prosecutor declared that the Atlanta police officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks was justified, the city council on Monday voted unanimously to pay his family $1 million.
The Atlanta City Council voted 15-to-0 on Nov. 21 in favor of settling a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city by Brooks’ family, NBC News reported.
“This grieving family has been through so much during this process. Although the children of Mr. Brooks have lost their father, settling the case will undoubtedly assist them with future plans as they come of age,” attorneys for family told WXIA.
But critics are questioning what exactly lawmakers chose to spend $1 million taxpayer dollars on after investigations determined that the officer-involved shooting was justified and dropped all charges against the officers.
In fact, attorneys for the officers said that the investigation by the special prosecutor and a review of the case by the new Fulton County district attorney revealed that former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard had tried to twist the ongoing case to his own political benefit, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigates almost every shooting in the state involving law enforcement but Howard said last June that the state agency didn’t need to investigate the Brooks shooting.
He said the video and witness testimony were enough and charged Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe five days after the incident, three months before the GBI’s investigation of the shooting was completed.
Howard claimed Brooks posed no threat to officers and was only “slightly impaired,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
However, the GBI’s report came to very different conclusions.
It turned out that Brooks was on probation at the time of the incident and had drugs inside his vehicle in the Wendy’s parking lot, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He would have gone back to prison if he had been arrested for driving under the influence and the drugs had been found after police caught him asleep in his car at the fast-food drive-thru.
A motion filed by the defense to change the terms of Officer Rolfe’s bond said that methamphetamines and eutylone, a designer drug stimulant, were found in Brooks’ vehicle, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The toxicology tests conducted by GBI’s lab found Brooks’ blood contained cocaine, a prescription sedative, and eutylone when he was shot.
Pines’ motion also pointed to the fact Howard had claimed Officer Rolfe said, “I got him” and no witnesses had confirmed that, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He also said video proved Officer Rolfe had not kicked Brooks after he shot him as the former district attorney claimed at the time he announced charges against the officer.
Howard lost his re-election bid and was replaced by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Willis recused her office from the case because of obvious conflicts of interest and a special prosecutor was appointed, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr then appointed Special Prosecutor Pete Skandalakis to handle the prosecution, WXIA reported.
In August, Skandalakis announced that the officers “acted within the scope of their duties,” “committed no crimes,” and “acted as reasonable officers.”
The initial 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 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.
Officer Rolfe had been charged with 11 felonies, 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 had been facing three felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.