Officer Fired, Police Chief Resigns After Use Of Lethal Force Against Rayshard Brooks

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The officer responsible for shooting and killing 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s in Atlanta has been fired. The other officer involved was placed on administrative duty.

The Associated Press reports: “The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, and the officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Brosnan, who was hired in September 2018, according to a release from police spokesperson Sgt. John Chafee.”

The report adds:

Rolfe is seen on body camera video administering the field sobriety test, followed by a Breathalyzer test with Brooks’ permission. He moves to arrest Brooks after the Breathalyzer test; while he doesn’t tell Brooks the result, the machine displays a 0.108 in video captured by Rolfe’s own body camera.

The GBI released security camera video of the shooting Saturday, which does not show Brooks’ initial struggle with police. The footage shows a man running from two white police officers as he raises a hand, which is holding an object, toward an officer a few steps behind him. The officer draws his gun and fires as the man keeps running, then falls to the ground in the parking lot.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Brooks had grabbed a Taser from one officer and appeared to point it at the officer as he fled. The officer fired an estimated three shots.

The firing took place shortly after Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned from her position, per a request from Atlanta Mayor Kesha Bottoms.

Shields was Atlanta’s police chief for four years and was praised for her response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. She said the officers involved should be imprisoned and she empathized with those protesting.

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In the days following the Minneapolis incident, protests sprung up in major cities across the country, including Atlanta. As a result of riots and protests in her own city, Shields was tasked with responding to an incident of police brutality.

The Associated Press reports:

Shields fired two officers and benched three others caught on video in a hostile confrontation with two college students whose car was stuck in traffic caused by protests. The officers fired Tasers at the pair and dragged them from the vehicle. When prosecutors later charged six of the officers involved, however, Shields openly questioned the charges.

The shooting of Brooks two weeks later raised further questions about the Atlanta department.

“It is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Shields said in a statement.

Mayor Bottoms came out immediately after Brooks was killed on Friday evening, saying the situation was not a “justified use of deadly force.”

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer [who fired the fatal shot],” she said.

“What has become abundantly clear over the last couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities they are entrusted to protect,” she added.

Watch her comments below: