When police got to the scene, Rayshard Brooks was drunk and passed out in his car and blocking a Wendy’s drive-through in Atlanta, Ga.
The Wendy’s called the police to get him out of the way. For a while, both the police officers and Brooks remained calm. They chatted. Brooks teetered through a field sobriety test, and told officers, “take me home, I’m ready to go.”
But the cops brought out handcuffs instead, and that’s when Brooks began beating on the officers and fighting. As the struggle continued on June 12, Brooks grabbed one of the officer’s tasers and ran away. He turned and shot the taser at the officer chasing him.
An officer, Garrett Rolfe, shot Brooks in the back.
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) June 13, 2020
Brooks is dead and now Rolfe, who was fired the next day, is facing felony murder charges.
Charges Are Filed Against Police Officers
The Fulton County District Attorney filed multiple charges against the officers on Wednesday and announced that he had several pieces of evidence to support the felony murder charge, as The Wall Street Journal related.
… Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office interviewed at least 10 witnesses and reviewed body camera and dash-cam footage, as well as eight videos, prior to determining whether charges were necessary. Surveillance video from Wendy’s was also examined.
Mr. Howard also announced three charges against Devin Brosnan, a second officer at the scene, including aggravated assault and violation of oath.
As he announced the charges against both officers, Mr. Howard displayed photographs that he said showed Mr. Brosnan standing on Mr. Brooks’s shoulders as he lay on the ground after being shot, while Mr. Rolfe kicked him. Mr. Howard said Mr. Brosnan was cooperating with his office and willing to testify against Mr. Rolfe.
Weeks into riots over the killing of George Floyd, the shooting of Brooks triggered more anger and unrest. At a rally and vigil at the Wendy’s, white protesters torched the restaurant. Protesters prevented the firefighters from getting through to put out the fire.
The police chief, a white woman, resigned, knowing that she’d be blamed anyway and asked to leave.
Bad and Worse Options for Police
Former NYPD Officer and Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino told Fox News that the Atlanta police officers were in the worst situation.
[T]here was a bad and a worse option. The worse option is to let this subject continue to engage in use of force against them [the officers], without stopping the episode.
Sadly, it resulted in his death, but make no mistake, the use of force was controlled by one person, the individual who resisted arrest, stole the weapon, ran away and then pointed it at the officers, which is clear on the video.
Brooks would have been alive if he hadn’t resisted arrest, stolen a weapon, and run away. All of those things are true. But it’s also true that back in the old days, cops used to give drunk drivers a ride home.
A CNN pundit claimed that Brooks would have been killed anyway and that’s why he resisted arrest and grabbed the cop’s taser.
If you listen to her you’re going to see a whole helluva lot more police shootings.
And people can’t expect Atlanta cops to tolerate beatings and tasing to accommodate political whims.
Obviously, the message Atlanta police are getting is that they’re walking punching bags for perps.
Rayshard Brooks "did not pose an immediate threat of death or seriously physical injury to the officers," DA Paul Howard says in press conference announcing charges against officers in the Rayshard Brooks case.
— Blue Flu Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 17, 2020
That’s why many officers are reported to have walked off the job today.
My contacts in the Atlanta Police Department inform me that members from evening shift Zone 4 walked off the job shortly followed by Officers in Zone 3 and 6. The good members of the @Atlanta_Police will not stand for @FultonCountyDA’s activism in place of applying the law. https://t.co/PDWZNgFeXb
— Rob O'Donnell (@odonnell_r) June 17, 2020
Shooting a fleeing perpetrator is, to say the least, problematic. Having your police partner agree to testify against you takes this to a whole other level.
What we could do is 1) Not drink and drive, 2) Expect to pay for bad behavior, 3) Not resist arrest and sort it out later.
And let’s try to stop in its tracks the effort to criminalize every move from police officers until we’ve got all the facts.