Rayshard Brooks: Murder charge for police officer who shot black man in the back

June 17, 2020

The police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks outside an Atlanta restaurant will be charged with murder, a US prosecutor has said.

Garrett Rolfe is facing 11 charges after shooting Mr Brooks twice in the back as he was running away with a Taser following a struggle with police on Friday night

The officer, who has been fired from his job, could face a life sentence or the death penalty if convicted.

A second officer, Devin Bronsan, is facing three charges, including one for aggravated assault.

He has been placed on administrative leave, and is said to be cooperating with prosecutors.

Announcing the charges, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters that Mr Brooks had been "running away at the time the shot was fired".

He said Rolfe had then kicked the 27-year-old father as he lay on the ground struggling for his life in the Wendy's car park, while Bronson also stood on his shoulder.

"I believe at the time of the shooting, Mr Brooks did not represent a threat," Mr Howard said, adding that the father-of-three had been cooperating with officers in an "almost jovial" manner.

According to the prosecutor, who said he had reviewed eight videos of the incident, the officers did not immediately provide medical help after the shooting.

He said the Atlanta Police Department rules also do not allow for shooting a Taser at someone running away, and therefore: "He certainly cannot fire a handgun at someone running away."

Mr Brooks' widow, Tomika Miller, and her lawyers, Justin Miler and L. Chris Stewart, were also at the press conference to hear the charges.

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Police were initially called to the scene at a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta following complaints of a vehicle blocking the drive-thru lane.

Upon arrival, an officer found Mr Brooks asleep at the wheel, leading to another officer being called to carry out a sobriety test.

For more than 40 minutes the officers appeared to have a calm conversation with Mr Brooks, according to bodycam footage that was later released, before the situation turned violent.

Mr Brooks was seen scuffling with the officers, before grabbing the Taser stun gun and running off.

He then turns and points it at one of them.

The bodycam footage that was released does not show the moment Mr Brooks was shot.

Protests against police brutality - originally sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis - have since been revived across Atlanta, and have seen the Wendy's restaurant set on fire.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has also resigned.

It comes amid fierce debate across America in recent weeks about racial discrimination in the country's justice system, and the use of unnecessary force by officers.

Republicans have revealed plans to overhaul police departments nationwide, while President Trump has signed an executive order restricting the use of police chokeholds.

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