Aug 24, 2022 - News

Outrage after charging decision in death of Rayshard Brooks

A memorial outside the Wendy's where Brooks was shot in June 2020. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Georgia activists and some political leaders are criticizing prosecutors' decision to drop charges against two Atlanta officers for the June 12, 2020 shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.

Catch up quick: The special prosecutor assigned to the case said yesterday that after studying the evidence, he concluded Atlanta officers Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe reasonably believed Brooks was an immediate threat.

What they're saying: Two years after Brooks' killing, which sparked more protests weeks after the murder of George Floyd, some Georgians expressed frustration with the prosecutors' decision.

  • Gerald Griggs, an attorney and president of the Georgia NAACP called it "extremely concerning" that the decision was not made by a grand jury.
  • "A Fulton County grand jury should've decided the fate of Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan, not two former members of law enforcement," Griggs told Axios. "There is no statute of limitations on a murder case, and there will be no statute of limitations on our efforts to ensure there is justice for Rayshard Brooks."

Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Lewis, who represents the district where the killing happened, said in a statement that the news "truly pains me."

  • "Rayshard Brooks was asleep at the wheel in a drive-thru line," he said. "That's all. I understand the need for accountability, but he didn't have to lose his life."

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams also weighed in, saying "accountability is an essential component for community trust and public safety — a component that is in question today.”

  • Democratic state Rep. Renitta Shannon called the decision "disgusting" and said it "surprises no one."
  • "Police are not paid to be the judge, jury and executioner," she wrote on Twitter.

The other side: Attorneys for Rolfe and Brosnan applauded the news. Rolfe's attorney said he hoped any protests would be peaceful, 11Alive reports.

What we're watching: Tomika Miller, Brooks' widow and mother of three of his children, last fall sued the officers, the city and the Atlanta police department on behalf of Brooks' estate for "compensatory damages" for Brooks' death.

Earlier this summer Rolfe and Brosnan sued the city and the police department for being denied their due rights after the shooting.

Both officers are still employed with the Atlanta Police Department.


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