Murder charge for police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back

The police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks will be charged with felony murder, a US prosecutor has said.

Garrett Rolfe, a six-year veteran of the Atlanta police department, is facing a total of 11 charges after shooting Mr Brooks twice in the back outside a drive-thru restaurant on Friday night.

The officer had already been fired from his job ahead of the announcement on Wednesday, and could now be looking at a life sentence or the death penalty, if convicted.

A second officer, Devin Bronsan, is facing three charges, including one for aggravated assault.

Garrett Rolfe
Image:Garrett Rolfe will be charged with felony murder

He has been placed on administrative leave, and is said to be cooperating with prosecutors.

Announcing the charges, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters that Mr Brooks had been “running away at the time the shot was fired.”

He added that Rolfe had then kicked the 27-year-old father as he lay on the ground struggling for his life in the Wendy’s car park, while Bronson also stood on his shoulder.

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“I believe at the time of the shooting, Mr Brooks did not represent a threat,” Mr Howard said, adding that the father-of-three had been cooperating with officers in an “almost jovial” manner.

According to the prosecutor, who said he had reviewed eight videos of the incident, the officers did not immediately provide medical help after the shooting.

He said the Atlanta Police Department rules also do not allow for shooting a taser at someone running away, and therefore: “He certainly cannot fire a handgun at someone running away.”

Mr Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, and her lawyers, Justin Miler and L. Chris Stewart, were also at the press conference to hear the charges confirmed against the officers.

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Police had initially been called to the scene last week at a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta following complaints of a vehicle blocking the drive-thru lane.

Upon arrival, an officer found Mr Brooks asleep at the wheel, leading to another officer being called to administer a sobriety test.

For more than 40 minutes the officers appeared to have a calm conversation with Mr Brooks, according to bodycam footage that was later released, before the situation turned violent.

Mr Brooks was seen scuffling with the officers, before grabbing a stun gun and running to escape.

He then turns and points it at one of them.

The bodycam footage that was released does not show the moment Mr Brooks was shot.

The people of America are saying they've had enough - this time it feels different

The people of America are saying they’ve had enough – this time it feels different

Protests against police brutality – that were originally sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – have since been revived across Atlanta, and have seen the Wendy’s restaurant set on fire.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has also resigned.

It comes amid fierce debate across America in recent weeks about racial discrimination in the country’s justice system, and the use of unnecessary force by officers.

In responding to this, Republicans have revealed plans to overhaul police departments nationwide.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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