Atlanta, GA – A fundraiser has been set up to support former Atlanta Police Officer Garret Rolfe, who is being charged with murder for fatally shooting a suspect who was firing a Taser at him.
The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization, a statewide support group for law enforcement officers, had established crowdfunding campaign to raise money to assist the now-former police officer.
“Officer Rolfe was involved in the justified shooting of Rayshard Brooks on June 12th, 2020,” the fundraiser said.
“The videos clearly show that the shooting was justified; however, the District Attorney Paul Howard, who is losing his election, has chosen to charge Officer Rolfe with 11 charges including Felony Murder, and it is 100% for political gain,” the message continued.
“The DA is losing his election, and he is also under investigation himself for stealing $185,000 in tax money, and transferring it directly into his personal account,” the note from the organization continued. “This fundraiser is designed to help Officer Rolfe and his family to pay for legal services and general necessities.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced seven felony charges – including murder – on Wednesday against former Officer Rolfe in connection with the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s on Friday night.
At the press conference, 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.”
However, an attorney for Officer Brosnan was quick to dispute Howard’s assertions after the press conference.
Criminal defense attorney Don Samuel told reporters on Wednesday that his client has not agreed to be a state’s witness against another officer despite what Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at the press conference announcing charges.
Both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WXIA reported that Samuel said that Officer Brosnan has not agreed to testify against former Officer Rolfe, nor has he agreed to plead guilty to any of the charges against him.
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
“I’ve never seen anything this scary,” International Brotherhood of Police Southeast Regional Director Vince Champion told The Police Tribune on Wednesday night. “The problem is what law enforcement is being told in the city of Atlanta right now is that even when you do your job as hard as it is, if they don’t like the way it looks they’ll fire you and attempt to put you in jail.”
“The felony murder that they want to charge this officer with is imprisonment without the chance of parole, so you’re in prison for the rest of your life,” Champion added.
The union representative then said that the charges against the officers are political.
“Paul Howard is up for reelection – he’s been here for many years so he should be good to go. But out of three in a runoff, he was second in votes. So he’s worried. He wants to get to the rioters for votes. He’s trying to show that he’s hard on crime by going after the officers – he’s trying to live off of prosecuting bad cops,” Champion explained to The Police Tribune.
“But Paul Howard is also under investigation himself for sexual harassment and possible money laundering right now, so he’s also trying to direct the attention away from his own investigation and take himself out of the limelight,” Champion added.
After Howard’s press conference on charges, information started coming out which contradicted the information he released, including the denial from Officer Brosnan’s attorney that his client had turned state’s witness.
Champion confirmed what Officer Brosnan’s attorney said.
“Officer Brosnan did not turn on his fellow officers. We hadn’t heard anything about that. All of these officers are working with us and using union attorneys and we had never heard anything about this before Paul Howard talked about it today. Then before I could make a phone call to check on it, the attorney was calling us to say ‘that’s just not true,” Champion explained.
“What this shows to me is that Paul Howard rushed this investigation and is willing to lie and not be forthcoming with the truth to get the outcome that he wants,” Champion told The Police Tribune.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) also released a statement on their official Facebook page shortly after the district attorney’s press conference concluded that contradicted with what Howard had told reporters about acting in concert with the state investigative agency.
“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Atlanta Police Department on Friday night, June 12th, to investigate an officer involved shooting at the Wendy’s Restaurant on University Avenue,” the post read. “We are in the process of conducting this investigation. Although we have made significant progress in the case, we have not completed our work.”
“Our goal in every officer involved shooting case we are requested to review, is to complete a thorough, impartial investigation before we submit the file to the respective District Attorney’s Office,” the statement continued.
“The GBI was not aware of today’s press conference before it was conducted,” the agency wrote. “We were not consulted on the charges filed by the District Attorney. Despite today’s occurrence, the GBI will complete its mission of completing an impartial and thorough investigation of this incident and we will submit the file, once completed, to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.”
Champion told The Police Tribune that the GBI always communicates with the union when information is being released on investigations, but they were blindsided.
He added that he believes that the GBI will conduct a fair and balanced investigation.
You can visit the crowdfunding campaign HERE.