During the height of violent protests as well as the Black Lives Matter movement after Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, another clash occurred which resulted in the death of another Black man, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.
A specially appointed prosecutor announced his decision Tuesday not to pursue charges against the two white Atlanta police officers who struggled with Brooks. The Associated Press reports the judge determined the two officers “acted reasonably during the 2020 encounter.”
Officer Garrett Rolfe shot and killed Brooks in June 2020, alongside Officer Devin Brosnan. The two faced a “quickly evolving” situation when Brooks lunged and grabbed one of their Tasers during an arrest attempt, said Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
“We did not look at this with 20/20 hindsight. Given the quickly changing circumstances, was it objectively reasonable that he used deadly force? And we conclude it was,” Skandalakis said of Rolfe.
Despite the country being on high alert with regard to race relations and brutal treatment of the Black community by police officers in the summer of 2020, “This isn’t one of those cases,” said Skandalakis. “This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt and, you know, unfortunately, by his actions, this is what happened.”
The Associated Press reports on the story:
On June 12, 2020, police responded to complaints of a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s restaurant. Police body camera video shows the two officers having a calm conversation with Brooks for roughly 40 minutes.
Then, when the officers told Brooks he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to arrest him, Brooks resisted in a struggle caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed a Taser from one of the officers and fled, firing it at Rolfe as he ran. Rolfe fired his gun, and an autopsy found that Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks died, and protesters set fire to the Wendy’s, which was later demolished.
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