Prosecutors say they believe the use of force against Rayshard Brooks in 2020 was reasonable under the law.

Atlanta Police Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan are expected to be released from custody this afternoon.

At a press conference at the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia in Morrow, prosecutor Pete Skandalakis, who was appointed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to handle the case, cited various cases that led to the decision.

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“Brosnan and Rolfe committed no crimes….Both acted in established law in exercising the use of force,” Skandalakis said.

Police bodycam video shows Rayshard Brooks talking with officers minutes before Brooks punched one officer, grabbed a Taser, and fired on another officer, who fired back three times., fatally wounding him. Brooks’ death set off a violent backlash from protestors, some of whom who occupied and burned down the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed and set up an armed roadblock in the area. An autopsy showed Brooks had had alcohol, cocaine, and ecstasy in his system when he died. Prosecutor Pete Skandalakis announced August 23 that he would not pursue charges against Ofcs. Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan and that their use of deadly force was justified under Georgia law. (APD Bodycam screengrab)

Brooks, who had been living in an extended stay motel in Forest Park, fell asleep in a Wendy’s parking lot on University Avenue in Atlanta just off I-75. on June 12, 2020. When two Atlanta Police officers approached him, they chatted for a while. He told them he had been at a party and that he thought he was near the motel. The officers attempted to arrest Brooks, who was on probation for false imprisonment and child cruelty, for DUI. Brooks punched Brosnan hard enough to give him a concussion, snatched his Taser, and ran. Rolfe chased Brooks, who turned and fired the Taser at Rolfe. Rolfe shot back three times, fatally wounding Brooks.

Skandalakis said that a postmortem toxicology report found Brooks had had 0.102 alcohol, cocaine, and ecstasy in his blood.

Brooks’ shooting enraged many Atlantans, who saw the incident as an excessive use of force and asked why the police hadn’t just given Brooks a ride home instead of trying to arrest him. The incident happened in the context of other demonstrations that summer, protesting the murder of George Floyd by Ofc. Derek Chauvin, who was convicted the following summer and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.

Protestors occupied the Wendy’s on University Avenue where Brooks was killed. Chisom Kingston, John Wade, and Natalie White were charged with arson in the Wendy’s fire. The city demolished the Wendy’s, along with tributes to Brooks.

In the aftermath, Police Chief Erika Shields resigned, Rolfe was fired, and Atlanta Police held a sick-out.

A shooting at a nearby vigilante blockade on June 4, 2020 killed 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, the cousin of former Forest Park city employee Tiffanie Robinson. Julian Conley and Jerrion McKinney were indicted in 2021 by a Fulton County grand jury in that shooting. Both pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors alleged that members of the Bloods gang had taken over the area in the wake of Brooks’ shooting. In February, a Fulton County Superior Court judge denied a motion to try the men separately. Conley was denied bond in April. On August 5, White asked to be tried separately from Conley and McKinney.

Robin Kemp

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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