Atlanta Police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks charged with felony murder
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By Eric Levenson and Christina Maxouris, CNN
(CNN)The Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s parking lot last week was charged with felony murder and other charges, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday.The other police officer on scene also faces three charges, including aggravated assault, Howard said.The decision comes just five days after Brooks was shot twice in the back in Atlanta during an attempted arrest. Officer Garrett Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots, has already been fired, and officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on scene, has been put on administrative duty.After shooting Brooks, Rolfe said “I got him” and kicked Brooks, and Brosnan then stood on Brooks’ shoulder, Howard said. The officers did not provide medical aid to Brooks for over two minutes after shooting him, Howard said.Their demeanor after the shooting “did not reflect any fear or danger of Mr. Brooks, but reflected other kinds of emotions,” Howard said.One of Rolfe’s gunshots also hit an occupied vehicle nearby in the Wendy’s lot, endangering the passengers inside.
What Georgia law says about when police can use deadly forceBrosnan has agreed to be a state’s witness, Howard said.Arrest warrants have been issued for the two and they were asked to surrender by Thursday.The incident began when police responded to a report of a man sleeping in his car in the fast-food restaurant’s drive-through lane. After chatting calmly with the officers and failing a breathalyzer test, Brooks resisted arrest when officers moved to handcuff him for suspected drunken driving.Video footage shows the three fighting on the ground before Brooks grabs an officer’s Taser and begins to run away. As the officers chase him, Brooks points the Taser over his shoulder at Rolfe, who then shoots him multiple times, the surveillance video shows. Brooks was struck twice in the back and died at a nearby hospital.The police killing came amid nationwide protests calling for an end to racism and police violence against black people. Already, Rolfe has been fired, Brosnan was placed on administrative duty and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down from her position.Brooks’ family members, who are preparing for the 27-year-old father’s funeral, say the two officers should have continued to pursue him as he ran away instead of shooting him. He leaves behind three daughters, who are 1, 2 and 8 years old, and a 13-year-old stepson.But some law enforcement leaders say the shooting was justified and protected by Georgia law — which allows a person to use deadly force “only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person.”Howard told CNN earlier this week the possible charges could include murder, felony murder or voluntary manslaughter.”Specifically, (the question is if) Officer Rolfe, whether or not he felt that Mr. Brooks, at the time, presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury. Or the alternative is whether or not he fired the shot simply to capture him or some other reason,” Howard said.”If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law.”
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