Politics & Policy

Atlanta Officer Charged with Murder after Shooting Suspect Rayshard Brooks in the Back

A Wendy’s burns following the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Ga., June 13, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

A white Atlanta police officer was charged with murder on Wednesday after shooting African American suspect Rayshard Brooks during an attempted arrest last week.

Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan were called to an Atlanta Wendy’s on Friday when an employee complained that Brooks was sleeping in his car while blocking the drive-thru. The officers attempted to arrest Brooks following a sobriety test, but Brooks tried to escape and at one point grabbed a taser from one of the officers. Rolfe shot Brooks in the back as he attempted to flee.

Fulton County district attorney Paul L. Howard said that Rolfe had kicked Brooks after shooting him, while Brosnan stood on the victim’s shoulders. Brosnan has since turned state’s witness and is charged with aggravated assault.

Rolfe, meanwhile, is charged with felony murder and could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

“There is an Atlanta policy that requires that the officers have to provide timely medical attention to Mr. Brooks, to anyone who is injured,” Howard said. “But after Mr. Brooks was shot, for a period of two minutes and 12 seconds, there was no medical attention applies to Mr. Brooks.”

Brosnan’s attorney, Don Samuel, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his client had not stood on Brooks’s shoulders during arrest.

“The decision to initiate charges by the Fulton County DA’s office is irrational, unethical and obviously based on factors which should have nothing to do with the proper administration of justice,” Samuel said.

Police are currently looking for two white women suspected of setting fire to the Wendy’s where the officers attempted to arrest Brooks.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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