Black Lives Matter protesters have descended on Atlanta City Hall after the local police department reinstated a white cop who was fired for killing black man.
Officer Garrett Rolfe, 27, shot Rayshard Brooks, also 27, fatally twice in the back as he ran from cops outside a Wendy’s in South Atlanta on June 12 of last year.
Rolfe, a six-year police veteran, was terminated from the Atlanta Police Department and charged with 11 counts over Brooks’ death including felony murder.
But on Wednesday, the Atlanta Civil Service Board reversed the termination of Rolfe’s employment, saying the fired officer was ‘not afforded his right to due process’.
Rolfe will now be put on administrative leave because the terms of his bond mean he is banned from possessing a firearm or being around other police officers.
Dozens of activists gathered Wednesday evening outside City Hall to express their outrage, waving placards and chanting before they marched through the streets.
‘Stop the war on Black America!’ one sign read.
‘Atlanta Police Department has blood on their hands. Enough,’ another stated.
Black Lives Matter protesters have descended on City Hall in Atlanta after the local police department reinstated Officer Garrett Rolfe after he was fired for killing Rayshard Brooks
Dozens of activists gathered Wednesday evening outside City Hall to express their outrage, waving placards and chanting before they marched through the streets
‘Atlanta Police Department has blood on their hands! Enough!’ one placard read
Rolfe, 27, (left) shot and killed Brooks, also 27, (right) on June 12 when he and Officer Devin Brosnan were called to the drive-thru at the fast food joint in Atlanta, Georgia, by customers who said a man was asleep at the wheel
On June 12 last year Officer Garret Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan, 26, were called to a Wendy’s drive-thru by customers who said Brooks was asleep at the wheel of his car.
A scuffle broke out when the officers tried to arrest him, with Brooks taking Brosnan’s taser and pointing it behind him in the direction of the cops.
Rolfe then fatally shot Brooks in the back.
Rolfe and his legal team have repeatedly challenged the investigation into Brooks’ death, including lodging the appeal over his firing, filing a lawsuit against the mayor and police chief and calling for the first DA prosecuting his case to be removed.
Dozens of protesters gather outside Atlanta City Hall to make their feelings known
The Atlanta Civil Service Board reversed the termination of Rolfe’s employment on Wednesday, angering protesters
No trial date is set for Rolfe, with the case currently in legal limbo after the incoming DA tried to recuse her office citing her predecessor’s mishandling of the probe
BLM supporters brandished megaphones as they blasted the APD for its decision
Bodycam footage of Rolfe left and Brooks right above. The Atlanta Civil Service Board announced its decision to reverse the termination of Rofle’s employment with the force Wednesday
Rolfe was granted a victory Wednesday, when the Atlanta Civil Service Board concluded Wednesday: ‘Due to the City’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the Board concludes the Appellant was not afforded his right to due process.
‘Therefore, the Board grants the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD.’
However, the decision does not mean Rolfe will return to work as law enforcement officer, his attorney Lance LoRusso told the
The terms of his bond over his criminal charges mean he is banned from possessing a firearm or being around other police officers.
‘He’d essentially be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the charges against them,’ LoRusso told the outlet.
Atlanta police spokeswoman Chata Spikes said she could not comment on whether Rolfe will receive back pay or will be paid while on administrative leave.
Rolfe had lodged an appeal against his firing last month, claiming the force dismissed him without following the correct procedures and that his rights were ‘grossly violated.’
Garrett Rolfe seen in a June 18 booking photo. Atlanta police have reinstated the cop who is charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks after shooting him outside a Wendy’s last year
In a hearing of the Atlanta Civil Service Board on April 22, his attorney LoRusso said Rolfe was not given enough time to respond to his ‘notice of proposed adverse action’ – typically a 10-day period – before he was fired.
He also argued that the then-police chief, Erika Shields, did not sign Rolfe’s dismissal form – and resigned her position that same afternoon.
Shields is now head of Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky.
Instead, his dismissal form was signed by the assistant chief Todd Coyt, who testified that he believed Rolfe behaved appropriately during the fatal shooting.
He said Rolfe and Brosnan had ‘acted accordingly and… were trying to show compassion and did everything they could to calm the situation down.’
Rolfe’s attorney also said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms pushed for his immediate firing in a press briefing, leaving the officer without a fair amount of time to defend himself against his ousting.
‘It is clear that we do not have another day, another minute, another hour to waste,’ she said at the time.
Brooks’ family’s attorney said the board’s decision sends a ‘message that this city and the DA and the police department are not really serious about civil rights.’
‘It appears that Rayshard Brooks’ life didn’t really matter and that the world has moved on,’ said L. Chris Stewart.
He added that Rolfe has ‘received more justice’ than Brooks following his death.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stood by the officer’s firing in a statement.
‘Given the volatile state of our city and nation last summer, the decision to terminate this officer, after he fatally shot Mr. Brooks in the back, was the right thing to do,’ she said.
‘Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse.’
She pointed out that the board did not determine whether Rolfe violated police department policies.
Rolfe’s reinstatement does not have bearing on his murder charges.
The officer was charged with felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault, four counts of violation of oath of office and one count of criminal damage to property over the shooting death of the father-of-four.
He was released on June 30 after posting $500,000 bond.
In August, prosecutors asked a judge to revoke his bond saying he violated the terms of his release by traveling to Florida without permission.
Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.
He was not fired from the force but was placed on desk duty following the shooting.
Both say that their actions were justified.
Bodycam footage (above) showed the moments leading up to Brooks death. Brooks ran away and was shot twice by Rolfe when he turned to fire the Taser in Rolfe’s direction
The Atlanta Civil Service Board announced its decision to reverse the termination of Rofle’s employment with the force Wednesday
No date has yet been given for Rolfe’s murder trial, as the case is currently embroiled in a legal limbo.
Then-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard brought the charges against the officers less than five days after the killing.
Fani Willis then took office as DA in January and sought to recuse her office from the case, citing her predecessor’s mishandling of the investigation.
But her recusal was denied by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, leaving the case up in the air with no prosecutor and awaiting a judge’s decision to decide on the next steps.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher asked Willis to provide evidence showing why she should not be involved in the case by this past Monday.
Brooks was killed on June 12 as he ran from the two cops in the Wendy’s drive-thru.
Bodycam and dashcam footage shows the officers arriving on the scene to find the black father-of-four asleep at the wheel of his car.
The cops and Brooks are seen having a calm conversation for more than 40 minutes with Brooks initially cooperating with the officers.
When Brooks failed a sobriety test and the officers tried to arrest him, a scuffle broke out.
Brooks then reached for and grabbed one of the officer’s Tasers and ran away.
He was shot twice by Rolfe, with the officer claiming Brooks turned to fire the Taser in his direction.
Brooks was pronounced dead in a nearby hospital soon after.
An autopsy found he was shot twice in the back.
Brooks’ death came less than a month after another white police officer Derek Chauvin killed another black man George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis, when he knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Protesters, already on the streets for the George Floyd protests, were enraged by Brooks’ killing
The Wendy’s where Brooks was shot and killed was set alight on June 13
The burnt remains of the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed after it was torched last year
Footage of Floyd’s death sent shockwaves around the world and sparked protests across America demanding justice and an end to police brutality and systematic racism.
Brooks’ death reignited tensions and sparked protests in the city of Atlanta last June.
The Wendy’s where he was killed was torched to the ground during the unrest last years.
Rolfe has repeatedly argued that the city and police force did not handle the case correctly as they fired him just 24 hours after the shooting.
Officer Devin Brosnan (in mugshot) was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath
As well as the now-successful appeal over his firing, he is also suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Rodney Bryant claiming they ‘violated his civil rights’ when they fired him.
He filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court in August, saying his firing violated his constitutional rights and the city code.
This came one month after his attorneys sought to remove then-DA Howard from the case.
Howard repeatedly made comments to inflame public sentiment against the ex-cop, issued contradictory statements about whether a stun gun is a deadly weapon and is under investigation himself, Rolfe’a attorneys argued.
The DA was later beaten in the run-off race by Willis amid questions circling his handling of the case, his use of city funds and allegations of harassment.
In February, Rolfe’s attorneys then filed to have the murder case dismissed because there was no prosecutor on the case following Willis’ attempted recusal.
The Atlanta Civil Service Board hears the appeals of firings and other employment actions taken against public city employees.
In February, the board reinstated officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who were fired last June after video surfaced showing them deploying Tasers on two college students during last summer’s protests in downtown Atlanta.
The veteran officers still face a variety of criminal charges, including aggravated assault and simple battery.