Atlanta police involved in black man’s shooting named

Police have named the officer who shot a black man dead in Atlanta and has since been fired.

Garrett Rolfe pulled the trigger on local man Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s fast food restaurant on Friday night.

The 27-year-old was taken to a local hospital but died after surgery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

“Officers were responding to a complaint of a male in a vehicle parked in the drive thru asleep, causing other customers to drive around the vehicle,” the bureau said.

“During a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s Tasers and began to flee from the scene.

“Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”

The Associated Press reports more than 40 minutes passed between the time Officer Devin Brosnan first knocked on Brooks’ car door and when an estimated three gunshots rang out.

The police were dispatched at 10.33pm and Rolfe arrived about 16 minutes after Brosnan.

Mr Brooks’ death has sparked a new wave of protests across the capital of Georgia after Black Lives Matter demonstrations regarding the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police less than three weeks ago.

Protesters surrounded the Wendy’s which was set alight and gutted by flames on Saturday.

At least 36 people had been arrested by midnight.

Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, has had his employment terminated, Atlanta Police Department spokesman Sergeant John Chafee said early on Sunday morning.

Brosnan, who joined the department in September 2018, has been placed on administrative duty.

“One officer was treated for an injury sustained during the incident and was subsequently discharged from the hospital,” the GBI said.

The bureau, which is conducting an independent investigation, initially said witnesses described the shooting as occurring “in the struggle over the Taser”.

But after obtaining Wendy’s surveillance video, the GBI revised its account, saying it had been “based on the officer’s body cam which was knocked off during the physical struggle, preventing the capture of the entire shooting incident”.

The GBI has also since reviewed footage of the incident posted on social media.

The police department has released body camera and dashcam footage from the two officers.

The GBI said Brooks failed a sobriety test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.

Rolfe is seen on body camera video administering the test, followed by a breathalyser test with Mr Brooks’ permission.

He moves to arrest Mr Brooks after the latter.

While he doesn’t tell Mr Brooks the result, the machine displays a 0.108 in video captured by Rolfe’s own body camera.

The GBI released security camera video of the shooting on Saturday which does not show Mr Brooks’ initial struggle with police.

The footage shows a man running from two white police officers as he raises a hand, which is holding an object, toward an officer a few steps behind him.

The officer draws his gun and fires as the man keeps running, then falls to the ground in the parking lot.

Rolfe’s termination followed calls from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for it to happen.

“While there may be debate over whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” she said on Saturday.

“I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.

“What has become abundantly clear over the last couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honour, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect.”

She also announced she had accepted the resignation of Atlanta’s police chief Erika Shields.

“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department,” Shields said in a statement.

“Out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

A lawyer for Mr Brooks’ family, L. Chris Stewart, told reporters the 27-year-old should not have been killed and the officer had other options “than shooting the man in the back”.

“In Georgia, a Taser is not a deadly weapon,” he said.

“You cannot have it both ways in law enforcement.

“You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”

GBI director Vic Reynolds said his agents will provide Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard with the results of their investigation.

“Our thoughts and our sympathies are extended to the family of Rayshard Brooks as we must not forget that this investigation is centered upon a loss of life,” Mr Howard said in a statement.

His office will decide whether criminal charges are warranted against either Rolfe or Brosnan.

With AP

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