The Atlanta officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in the back after the fleeing man pointed a stun gun in his direction will be charged with felony murder and 10 other charges, a prosecutor said Wednesday. Garrett Rolfe kicked Brooks while he lay on the ground and the officer with him, Devin Brosnan, stood on Brooks’ shoulder as he struggled for life after a confrontation Friday night, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a news conference. Brosnan, who is being charged with aggravated assault, is cooperating with prosecutors in the case and has given testimony as a state’s witness, according to Howard, who said it’s the first time in 40 such cases where an officer has come forward to do this.
ATLANTA — Prosecutors brought murder charges Wednesday against the white Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back, saying that the black man posed no threat when he was gunned down and that the officer kicked him and offered no medical treatment as he lay dying on the ground.
Brooks was holding a stun gun he had snatched from officers but was 18 feet, 3 inches away when he was shot by Garrett Rolfe and was running away at the time, District Attorney Paul Howard said in announcing the charges five days after the killing outside a Wendy’s restaurant rocked the city.
The felony murder charge against Rolfe carries life in prison without parole or the death penalty. He was also charged with 10 other offenses punishable by decades behind bars.
“Mr. Brooks never presented himself as a threat,” Howard said.
A second officer with Rolfe, Devin Brosnan, stood on a wounded Brooks’ shoulder as he struggled for his life, according to Howard. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and other offenses but is cooperating with prosecutors and will testify, according to the district attorney, who said it was the first time in 40 such cases in which an officer has come forward to do this.
Rolfe was fired after shooting, while Brosnan was placed on leave.
The news came as Republicans on Capitol Hill unveiled a package of police reform measures and the movement to get rid of Confederate movements and other racially offensive symbols reached America’s breakfast table, with the maker of Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix dropping the 131-year-old brand.
The shooting sparked new demonstrations in Georgia’s capital against police brutality, after occasionally turbulent protests in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis had largely simmered down. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks died, and the fast-food restaurant was burned.
Police were called to the restaurant over complaints of a car blocking the drive-thru lane. An officer found Brooks asleep behind the wheel of the car, and a breath test showed he was intoxicated.
Police body camera video showed Brooks and officers having a relatively calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes before things rapidly turned violent. Brooks wrestled with officers, snatched one of their stun guns and pointed it at one of them as he ran through the parking lot.
An autopsy found that Brooks was shot twice in the back.
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