No charges for Atlanta officers in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks – WSB-TV Channel 2

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ATLANTA — Prosecutors announced Tuesday that two Atlanta officers who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks have been acquitted and will no longer be charged with his death.

The announcement comes more than two years after Brooks was killed in a confrontation outside an Atlanta Wendy’s on June 12, 2020.

Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Board of Prosecutors of the Council of Georgia, gave a detailed presentation on Tuesday about what led to his decision.

“You look at the totality of the circumstances. What did the officer know at that time, at that moment, in that split second,” Skandalakis said.

Skandalakis said the officers’ use of force was reasonable and that they were not acting with criminal intent. He said the charges against the officers will be dismissed.

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Police said Brooks fell asleep in the drive-thru line at the Wendy’s on the night of June 12. When police responded, he struggled with officers, grabbed an officer’s taser and tried to run away.

Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan shot him to death after police said Brooks pointed the taser at Rolfe’s head. Body camera video showed the events leading up to Brooks’ death.

Rolfe was subsequently charged with 11 crimes, including felony murder, aggravated assault and more. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and two counts of breach of oath of office.

Skandalakis said on Tuesday that the department called in outside experts to split the video of the shootings frame by frame. The department also brought in experts in trauma and stress responses.

Skandalakis gave a detailed summary of officers’ attempts to arrest Brooks and said Brooks overpowered the officers after an otherwise peaceful encounter that lasted about 90 minutes. The prosecutor said the officers suffered several injuries and Brooks fired the taser at them several times before the officers shot him.

Former Gwinnett DA Danny Porter, who analyzed the video, said Brosnan suffered a concussion and shock from the Taser.

Porter said at the time they could have arrested Brooks on charges of aggravated assault on an officer, obstructing law enforcement, and several other charges.

Porter also addressed the issue of Brooks being shot in the back, saying the analysis showed that although Brooks had turned his back on the officers when he was shot, he was turned around and was still firing the taser on the officers.

Prosecutors said officers in Georgia may use deadly force if the suspect is in possession of a deadly weapon and if the officer believes the suspect poses an immediate threat to officers or others.

“It is my finding that Rolfe acted in accordance with Georgian law,” the expert said. “It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force was reasonable.”

Skandalakis said he did not believe the shooting had anything to do with race. He said he believes the events that took place nationally at the time were part of what sparked such a strong reaction to Brooks’ death in Atlanta.

Skandalakis said that while Brooks’ death occurred around the same time that George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, the two cases are not the same.

“This is not a case where an officer knelt on a lying suspect for nine minutes, nor was it like the Ahmaud Arbery case, where armed civilians chased a young man through a neighborhood,” Skandalakis said.

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The Atlanta Police Department released a statement Tuesday regarding its decision to drop the charges against Rolfe and Bronson:

“We have confidence in the criminal justice system and respect the decision of the Special Prosecutor in this case. Both Agent Garrett Rolfe and Agent Devin Brosnan are still employed by APD. They currently have administrative duties. Both officers will undergo recertification and training from Georgia POST.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens also issued a statement, saying:

“My heart continues to aches for Rayshard Brooks’ family. He was a father whose absence will be forever felt by our community. This case was referred to the special prosecutor last year. I respect the independent role that the special counsel has played in this case. Today we received his decision. Over the past two years, our country has been embroiled in important discussions about policing in America. We must remain committed to creating safe communities through collaboration between the police and the people they serve. In Atlanta, we hold ourselves to the highest standards. Working with community advocates, the Atlanta City Council, the Atlanta Police Department and others, we listened and proactively made progress on key reforms. The ministry has revised its standard procedures and improved training to de-escalate confrontations. We continuously invest in training to ensure our officers are the most qualified and capable force in the country. As mayor, I remain committed to building trust between our residents and the public safety personnel who serve us.”

In June 2022, two years after Brooks’ death, Skandalakis told Channel 2’s Mark Winne he has three options when it comes to handling the two agents’ casesone of which is to not proceed with the prosecution of the officers at all.

He said the other two options were to file formal charges in the form of charges against one or both officers for a vote by a criminal grand jury. The other was to find a special grand jury who would investigate and recommend sending the case to a criminal grand jury to consider the charges.

Skandalakis took over the case in 2021 from previous Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. Howard’s successor, Fani Willis, disqualified himself for a conflict of interest and the Attorney General appointed Skandalakis to take over the case.

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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