Atlanta, GA – The former Atlanta police officer charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot in June has filed a lawsuit against the mayor and the interim police chief to get his job back.
The lawsuit filed by former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe claimed that his termination violated his constitutional rights and the Atlanta city code, the Associated Press reported.
It argued that then-Officer Rolfe used deadly force against Brooks “within the scope and course of his duties” as a response to “Brooks’ violent, unlawful, aggressive resistance to a lawful arrest.”
Attorneys for the former officer argued in the complaint that their client could have only been terminated for cause and that he was entitled to due process.
However, the lawsuit claimed that then-Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields failed to take the steps outlined by the city code prior to firing him, the Associated Press reported.
Chief Shields resigned from the police department the same day she terminated Officer Rolfe.
The lawsuit also pointed out that many Atlanta police officers have remained on the force while charges against them were pending, according to the Associated Press.
It claimed former Officer Rolfe “has suffered irreparable injury to his personal and professional reputation as a result of his unlawful dismissal.”
The lawsuit also claimed the former police officer “has become a public spectacle and object of ridicule,” the Associated Press reported.
It asked that a judge hold a hearing and order the police department to immediately reinstate former Officer Rolfe and give him back pay and benefits.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, have filed a motion to have the former police officer’s bond revoked after they found out that he traveled to Florida on vacation, WXIA reported.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has claimed that they received an email from Rolfe’s attorneys on Monday afternoon advising them that the former officer had gone on vacation.
However, the motion said records from the ankle monitoring company revealed that former Officer Rolfe had left his home and traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida at 7 a.m. on Sunday, WXIA reported.
“The Bond Order signed by the Honorable Judge Jane C. Barwick on June 30, 2020, expressly states that the Defendant is only allowed to leave home for medical, legal, or work related obligations,” the motion read. “Thus, Defendant has clearly shown that he will not abide by the conditions of bond imposed by the Court. Given the Defendant’s violations of the conditions of this Court’s bond order, the State brings this Motion to Revoke Bond before this Court.”
Prosecutors want the judge to revoke the former officer’s $500,000 bond, WXIA reported.
Former Officer Rolfe’s attorney sent a letter to the district attorney that was included in their motion that said the judge’s orders regarding the former officer’s release did not specify that he could not leave the state, WAGA reported.
The fatal shooting that led to former Officer Rolfe’s arrest occurred after officers responded to a call for a man asleep in the Wendy’s drive-thru late on June 12.
Officers administered a field sobriety test and established probable cause to arrest Brooks, but when they went to put the suspect in handcuffs, the previously-calm man attacked them.
Brooks stole Atlanta Police Officer Devin Brosnan’s Taser, tased the officer, and then fled with the weapon in hand.
Former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe pursued Brooks on foot with his own Taser in hand, until Brooks turned back and fired his Taser at Officer Rolfe.
That’s when Officer Rolfe dropped his Taser, drew his pistol, and fatally shot Brooks.
On June 17, Howard held a press conference to announce he was charging former Officer Rolfe with murder for the fatal shooting of Brooks after Brooks discharged Officer Brosnan’s Taser at Officer Rolfe.
The district attorney also announced at his press conference on June 17 that Officer Brosnan was facing three felony charges.
But Howard bragged that Officer Brosnan had turned state’s witness to testify against former Officer Rolfe and implied the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had blessed the charges.
Neither was true.
Officer Brosnan’s attorney quickly announced his client had not agreed to work with the prosecutor against his former fellow officer and the GBI released a statement that said they hadn’t even completed their investigation into the incident.
Don Samuel, one of Officer Brosnan’s attorneys, said that his client’s actions that night had been “exemplary” and that the district attorney’s office hadn’t even bothered to take him up on the offer to review Officer Brosnan’s medical records from after the incident.
Devin ends up taking out his Taser and yelling at him to ‘stop fighting, stop fighting,’” Samuel said. “Mr. Brooks grabbed the Taser from him and shoots… Devin gets shot with the Taser.”
“He then falls over and lands on his head on the pavement and gets a concussion,” the attorney added.
Samuel also disputed the district attorney’s assertions that Officer Brosnan had committed aggravated assault on Brooks after he was shot.
At his charging press conference, the district attorney said that Officer Brosnan had stood on Brooks and that former Officer Rolfe had kicked the wounded man after he shot him.
But Samuel said his client, who had just received a concussion, didn’t even realize Brooks was shot when he “put his foot on the arm to make sure he didn’t have access to a weapon.”
“It’s not an assault. It’s a man suffering from a concussion,” the attorney said.
He said his client suffered a number of other injuries that had been documented at the hospital and in pictures.
An attorney for former Officer Rolfe accused the Fulton County district attorney of behaving “unethically” and capitalizing on a series of national tragedies to help his re-election campaign.
“I’ve been prosecuting or defending Georgians in the criminal justice system for 25 years,” attorney Noah Pines said in a lengthy statement posted to the official Facebook page of the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization.
“But never in my career have I seen a District Attorney act so unethically without regard for his professional obligations in pursuit of reelection,” the statement said.
“Twice in the past few weeks Paul Howard has put his own ambitions ahead of the good of his constituents as he seeks to capitalize on a series of national tragedies,” Pines said. “Under Georgia’s Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8, Paul Howard is prohibited from making ‘extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.’”
“In fact, he is only permitted to inform the ‘pubic of the nature and extent’ of his actions ‘that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose,’” the attorney for former Officer Rolfe continued. “He has violated that rule today and also made blatant false statements. He has also acted rashly, before the official investigation has been completed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).”