Rayshard Brooks death: Atlanta officers are charged

The officer who shot dead Rayshard Brooks has been charged on 11 counts including felony murder, a charge that carries a possible sentence of life without parole or the death penalty.

The charges were announced at a press conference held by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

Former cop Garret Rolfe, 27, has also been charged on several counts of aggravated assault, seven violations of oath each carrying sentences of 1-5 years and an eight count for kicking Brooks as he lay dying – an allegation made after reviewing surveillance footage and citizens’ cell phone videos.

In a bombshell moment Howard revealed that Devin Brosnan, 26, has turned state witness and has agreed to testify against Rolfe.

Brosnan has been charged on three counts, one of aggravated assault a charge that carries up to 20 years in prison and two violations of oath, including a failure to administer timely medical assistance. Rolfe has also been charged on this count.

Howard revealed that Brosnan had admitted to standing on Brooks’s shoulders while he lay dying – an unauthorized control technique.

Howard has asked for a $50,000 bond for Brosnan and no bond for Rolfe. Both men must turn themselves in by 6pm Thursday.

Fellow officer Brosnan, who was first to respond to the 911 call-out that reported Brooks drunk and asleep at the wheel in the drive-thru lane of Wendy’s on University Avenue, Atlanta, has been placed on administrative duty. Brosnan faces three charges including aggravated assault. 

Arrest warrants have been issued Officers Garret Rolfe, 27, and Devin Brosnan, 26, have been charged today in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks

Arrest warrants have been issued Officers Garret Rolfe, 27, and Devin Brosnan, 26, have been charged today in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks

Officer Garrett Rolfe has been charged with 11 counts including felony murder, a charge that carries a possible sentence of life without parole or the death penalty, in the death of Rayshard Brooks

Fellow officer Devin Brosnan faces three charges including aggravated assault. Brosnan had admitted to standing on Brooks’s shoulders while he lay dying – an unauthorized control technique

Fellow officer Devin Brosnan faces three charges including aggravated assault. Brosnan had admitted to standing on Brooks’s shoulders while he lay dying – an unauthorized control technique

Fellow officer Devin Brosnan faces three charges including aggravated assault. Brosnan had admitted to standing on Brooks’s shoulders while he lay dying – an unauthorized control technique

Rolfe shot Rayshard Brooks (pictured) twice in the back on June 12 when he tried to arrest him in Atlanta

Rolfe shot Rayshard Brooks (pictured) twice in the back on June 12 when he tried to arrest him in Atlanta

Rolfe shot Rayshard Brooks (pictured) twice in the back on June 12 when he tried to arrest him in Atlanta

This is only the fourth time that Fulton County DA has issued arrest warrants before any indictments have been brought.

Howard said that his office had investigated the shooting at the Wendy’s on University Avenue at 1.15am on Saturday morning and had worked around the clock from that moment.

He said the investigation had taken into account both officers’ bodycam and dashcam footage, Wendy’s surveillance footage, civilian cell phone footage and several eye witnesses – three of whom were present at the conference today.

Howard said that Brooks presented no threat to the officers who knew that the Taser he had stolen had been deployed twice and therefore rendered useless.

Howard stated, ‘Once Mr Brooks was shot there is an Atlanta policy that requires that the officers have to provide timely medical attention.

‘But after Mr Brooks was shot for 2 minutes and 12 seconds there was no medical attention applied to Mr Brooks.

‘What we discovered is during the 2 minutes and 12 seconds that officer Rolfe kicked Mr Brooks while he laid on the ground fighting for his life.

‘The other officer, officer Brosnan stood on Mr Brooks’s shoulders while he was there struggling for his life.

He concluded, ‘Based on the way these officers conducted themselves that the demeanor immediately after the shooting did not reflect any fear or danger but reflected other kinds of emotion.’

Speaking on behalf of Brooks’s widow, Tomika Miller, attorney Chris Stewart praised Officer Brosnan’s ‘courageous’ decision to ‘step forward and say, ‘This is wrong.’

He said, ‘I know he’ll probably catch all kinds of hate [for this].’

Stewart added, ‘This is not a day of joy because it shouldn’t have happened. This is heartbreaking but it is an attempt to redefine justice because we don’t have any idea what it looks like in this world anymore.’

DA Howard said that he could not recall any occasion on which an officer had turned state witness prior to Brosnan. 

In a bombshell moment Howard revealed that Devin Brosnan, 26, has turned state witness and has agreed to testify against Rolfe

In a bombshell moment Howard revealed that Devin Brosnan, 26, has turned state witness and has agreed to testify against Rolfe

In a bombshell moment Howard revealed that Devin Brosnan, 26, has turned state witness and has agreed to testify against Rolfe

Rolfe, 27, has also been charged on several counts of aggravated assault, seven violations of oath each carrying sentences of 1-5 years and an eight count for kicking Brooks as he lay dying

Rolfe, 27, has also been charged on several counts of aggravated assault, seven violations of oath each carrying sentences of 1-5 years and an eight count for kicking Brooks as he lay dying

Rolfe, 27, has also been charged on several counts of aggravated assault, seven violations of oath each carrying sentences of 1-5 years and an eight count for kicking Brooks as he lay dying 

The charges were announced at a press conference held by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard

The charges were announced at a press conference held by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard

The charges were announced at a press conference held by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard

Rayshard Brooks' widow Tomika Miller was present at Wednesday's press conference where charges were revealed

Rayshard Brooks' widow Tomika Miller was present at Wednesday's press conference where charges were revealed

Rayshard Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller was present at Wednesday’s press conference where charges were revealed

As well as his colleague’s testimony, Howard said that his office had used Rolfe’s own words against him. 

He said that they had based their view that his response was ‘excessive’ on what he called ‘an excited utterance, ‘ – the unfiltered statement picked up by audio in the immediate aftermath of the shooting when Rolfe said, ‘I got him.’

He said that such utterances were considered, ‘highly reliable in law,’ precisely because they were said before a person had time to think or consider their words.

The case may not go before a Grand Jury until January or February next year as the DA’s office has about 12 cases to be considered ahead of it. 

Howard called for a change in the law that would allow the DA to simply sign off on an indictment and let the case go forward.

He said, ‘I don’t think we should wait.’

Brooks’s shooting sparked outrage and violence in the wake of George Floyd‘s death under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Chauvin, 44, is now facing charges of second-degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter. The three officers who stood by while Floyd, 46, died have all been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter.

Fulton County Medical Examiner declared Brooks’ death a homicide on Sunday, citing the cause as organ damage and blood loss caused by the gunshot wounds.

Howard, who is up for re-election, was quick to state that he believed it was ‘important’ to bring charges in Brooks’ death.

On Monday he said that he believed it would be difficult for Rolfe to argue self-defense from the material that he had reviewed to that point.

Brooks is pictured with wife Tomika Miller and three of his four daughters. She said she now feels like a 'statistic' having been rendered a single black mother by the cops' killing her husband

Brooks is pictured with wife Tomika Miller and three of his four daughters. She said she now feels like a 'statistic' having been rendered a single black mother by the cops' killing her husband

Brooks is pictured with wife Tomika Miller and three of his four daughters. She said she now feels like a ‘statistic’ having been rendered a single black mother by the cops’ killing her husband 

Rayshard Brooks' widow Tomika Miller called for the officers to be charged and said on Monday that it would take a 'long time' for their family to heal. She spoke while holding one of his three daughters

Rayshard Brooks' widow Tomika Miller called for the officers to be charged and said on Monday that it would take a 'long time' for their family to heal. She spoke while holding one of his three daughters

Rayshard Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller called for the officers to be charged and said on Monday that it would take a ‘long time’ for their family to heal. She spoke while holding one of his three daughters 

Another video shows Rayshard  running away from Rolfe, Brooks (right) is seen turning around and pointing a Taser gun at the cop. That is what prompted Rolfe to shoot him twice in the back

Another video shows Rayshard  running away from Rolfe, Brooks (right) is seen turning around and pointing a Taser gun at the cop. That is what prompted Rolfe to shoot him twice in the back

Video shows as Brooks is running away from Rolfe, Brooks (right) is seen turning around and pointing a Taser gun at the cop. That is what prompted Rolfe to shoot him twice in the back

Brooks’ grieving family and widow Tomika Miller called for the officers to be charged and told how he had celebrated his daughter’s eighth birthday with a trip to a bowling alley earlier that day.

But, in the days since the incident that began as a peaceable call out and escalated into the violent altercation, many have pointed to the differences between this shooting and Floyd’s death.

After twenty minutes of polite, muddled responses to the officers’ questions Brooks blew 0.108 on a breathalyzer having failed field sobriety tests. 

Rolfe then informed him he was too drunk to drive and tried to handcuff the 27-year-old father-of-four at which point Brooks attempted to make a break for it and a struggle ensued.

During that struggle Brooks punched Rolfe, took Brosnan’s taser and fled, turning to fire the stun gun back towards Rolfe who pursued him. 

DailyMail.com has learned that Brooks was on probation and faced going back to prison if he was charged with a DUI.

It was the fear of incarceration that likely caused Brooks to panic in the face of imminent arrest and caused him to run.

According to bodycam footage obtained by DailyMail.com, Rolfe begged Brooks to live as he desperately administered CPR to the dying man.

Rolfe’s bodycam came off during the violent altercation that erupted when he tried to cuff Brooks telling him he’d had too much to drink to be driving.

But the camera never stopped recording, as it was picked up and carried around by other officers called out to investigate the shooting before eventually being returned to its owner.

Amid angry shouts and accusations from by-standers Rolfe can be clearly heard pleading, ‘Mr. Brooks keep breathing. Keep breathing for me.’

The jerky bodycam footage captures him kneeling on the ground and administering CPR to the bleeding man while Brosnan looks on.

Rolfe administered CPR until the ambulance arrived and can be heard repeatedly calling Mr. Brooks’ name as he tried to keep him alive. 

DailyMail.com can reveal that Officer Rolfe begged Rayshard Brooks to stay alive after shots were fired, as seen on the officer's body camera

DailyMail.com can reveal that Officer Rolfe begged Rayshard Brooks to stay alive after shots were fired, as seen on the officer's body camera

DailyMail.com can reveal that Officer Rolfe begged Rayshard Brooks to stay alive after shots were fired, as seen on the officer’s body camera

Brooks' blue shirt can be seen surrounded by officers who tried to save his life

Brooks' blue shirt can be seen surrounded by officers who tried to save his life

Brooks’ blue shirt can be seen surrounded by officers who tried to save his life 

DailyMail.com can also reveal that  Rolfe has since told friends that he didn’t want to pull the trigger but did so because he feared that he he ‘went down’ Brooks might kill him.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com one close to Rolfe said, ‘Garret didn’t want to do it. He had been punched and was dazed. Brooks had gone to tase him and he said that he knew that if he went down Brooks might kill him.’

Rolfe was injured from a punch landed by Brooks during the scuffle that broke out when Rolfe tried to cuff him. The former officer was briefly felled and did not know where his fellow officer Devin Brosnan, 26, was in that moment.

The source said, ‘He told me he fired a shot up above his (Brooks’s) head but he didn’t stop and so he fired twice more. He didn’t want to do it. There’s no hate in Garrett’s body. He doesn’t hate black. He doesn’t hate white. In that moment he was in fear for his life.’

Brooks' death has sparked outrage but one black Georgia sheriff has said the shooting was 'completely justified'. Burke County, Ga. Sheriff Alfonzo Williams told CNN: 'There's nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved'

Brooks' death has sparked outrage but one black Georgia sheriff has said the shooting was 'completely justified'. Burke County, Ga. Sheriff Alfonzo Williams told CNN: 'There's nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved'

Brooks’ death has sparked outrage but one black Georgia sheriff has said the shooting was ‘completely justified’. Burke County, Ga. Sheriff Alfonzo Williams told CNN: ‘There’s nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved’

Burke County, Georgia Sheriff Alfonzo Williams has today spoken out publicly to describe the shooting as ‘completely justified.’

The black sheriff whose county is about 160miles east of Atlanta told CNN, ‘We saw in the video that Brooks is engaged in a fight with the officer. Brooks is able to take a non-lethal weapon, a Taser, away from one of the officers and he flees. Brooks turned back to the officers and fired the Taser.’

According to Williams, ‘If an officer is hit with that Taser, all of his muscles will be locked up, and he’ll have the inability to move and to respond. This was a completely justified shooting.’

Georgia Public Safety Training Center Director Chris Wiggington has also spoken out to describe the shooting as ‘tragic, yet justified.’

He said, ‘I agree just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. But we can’t take out what the officer felt at that moment.’

Neither Rolfe nor Brosnan have spoken publicly about the incident.

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