Decision pending on charges in Atlanta police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks


  • World
  • Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020

FILE PHOTO: A Wendy’s burns following a rally against racial inequality and the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 13, 2020. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

(Reuters) - A Georgia prosecutor is expected to announce as early as Wednesday whether a former Atlanta police officer will face any charges in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's parking lot last week.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has said that if he charges former officer Garrett Rolfe it would likely be for murder or felony murder, as he believed Brooks posed no threat and gunning him down was an unreasonable use of force.

The case has entered the national conversation about police use of force and racial justice for African-Americans that started after George Floyd's death during an arrest by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

In addition to murder charges, Howard has indicated voluntary manslaughter was also a possibility.

Some of the facts do not appear to be in dispute.

Brooks, 27, was reported asleep in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy's on Friday, blocking traffic. A restaurant employee called 911, saying that a man wouldn't move the vehicle and appeared intoxicated. The 911 tape was reviewed by Reuters.

After interaction with Rolfe and a second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, Brooks tussled with police and took off running with one of their Taser guns, as depicted in security and police video.

An autopsy conducted on Sunday showed that Brooks was shot twice in the back and died from blood loss and organ injuries, and the medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide.

Multiple demonstrations ensued and the Wendy's was destroyed by fire during a protest over the weekend.

Rolfe was fired from the force on Saturday and Brosnan was placed on administrative duties.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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