Atlanta, GA – The Fulton County District Attorney declared Sunday that Rayshard Brooks did not appear to be posing a threat when he was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer.
“(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,” Howard added.
Surveillance footage showed that after fighting two two cops and running away, Brooks, 27, turned and fired a Taser at Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe just before Officer Rolfe fatally shot him.
DA Howard’s claim that Brooks was not presenting a threat is especially bizarre in light of Howard charging a group of Atlanta police officers with aggravated assault (assault with a deadly weapon) after two officers tased two people who fled from officers.
Now-former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said at the time that the charges against the six officers were politically motivated.
Atlanta’s NAACP vice president, Gerald Griggs, claimed Saturday that Brooks, 27, was sleeping in the passenger side of his car in a parking lot when police contacted him.
“The people are upset,” Griggs said, according to WAGA. “They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything.”
Despite Griggs’s depiction of police harassment, newly released bodycam video shows that Brooks was passed out in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, blocking the Wendy’s drive-thru line.
The incident started when police received a call at around 10:33 p.m. Friday for a man asleep in his car blocking the Wendy’s drive-thru off University Ave near I-75/85, according to WXIA.
The bodycam depicts Officer Devin Bronsan as having no desire to deal with Brooks.
Officer Bronsan initially told Brooks to park in a parking spot if he wanted to sleep, but the incident turned into a DUI investigation after Bronsan smelled the odor of liquor.
“I don’t want to deal with this dude right now,” Officer Bronsan 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.
“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 Rolfe was subsequently fired, and Officer Bronson was placed on administrative leave.
It’s not clear if the officers 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.
Deputy Rodney Bryant will serve as the interm chief.
The shakeup comes as protests started almost immediately following the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting, protesters quickly gathered at the Wendy’s, according to WAGA.
Protests grew Saturday night, and the protesters set the Wendy’s on fire in addition to torching cars and bushes.
The protesters went on to block all lanes of I-75/85.
Firefighters were prevented from responding to the fires and the Wendy’s restaurant burned to the ground.
You can see the bodycam, dashcam, and surveillance footage below. Warning – Graphic Content:
You can see the cell phone video of the fight with officers below. Warning – Graphic Content: