Ex-Officer Charged With Murder in Atlanta Shooting Released on Bail

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 1, 2020Updated: May 5, 2021

The former police officer who was charged with murder in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks was released on bail Wednesday.

Garrett Rolfe, 27, was granted a bond of $500,000 late Tuesday by a Fulton County Superior Court judge.

Prosecutors argued Rolfe represented a flight risk. Judge Jane Barwick disagreed, siding with Rolfe’s lawyers.

“There is sufficient convincing factors in front of me that he does have sufficient ties to the community and he is not a flight risk,” Barwick said at the hearing. “I do not believe that he is a danger to the community.”

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Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe (R) appears on a television screen with attorney Lance LoRusso in Atlanta, Ga., on June 30, 2020. (Brynn Anderson/AP Photo)
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Superior Court Judge Jane C. Barwick speaks at a bond hearing for former police officer Garrett Rolfe in Atlanta, Ga., on June 30, 2020. (Brynn Anderson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Barwick ordered Rolfe to surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor, and abide by a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.

Rolfe was also forbidden from having any communication with Atlanta Police Department officers, relatives of Brooks, or any potential witnesses. The former officer can’t possess any firearms, the judge ruled.

The lawyers representing Brooks’s family, L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, said in a statement after the bond was set, “While the family of Rayshard Brooks is disappointed that his killer was granted bond today, they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard.”

Tomika Miller, Brooks’s widow, spoke during the virtual hearing. “I say no to it,” she said to Rolfe’s prospective release. “Because mentally, I’m not able to handle it.”

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On a video conference call, Tomika Miller, widow of Rayshard Brooks, speaks to Judge Jane C. Barwick during a bond hearing for former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, in Atlanta, Ga., on June 30, 2020. (Brynn Anderson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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The exterior of the Gwinnett County Jail in Lawrenceville, Ga., on June 30, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)


Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Rolfe with felony murder and 10 other charges less than a week after Brooks was fatally shot in a Wendy’s parking lot.

Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, responded on June 12 to a call about a car being parked in the drive-through, blocking other cars, with the driver being asleep or passed out.

Brooks failed a sobriety test. When officers moved to arrest him, he resisted, prompting a scuffle. Brooks stole Brosnan’s stun gun and fired it at the officers.

Footage from body cameras and the Wendy’s shows Brooks moving away from Rolfe but reaching back to fire the stun gun. Rolfe fired several shots from his gun, striking Brooks twice in the back.

The manner of death was homicide, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Epoch Times.

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Rayshard Brooks speaking with Officer Garrett Rolfe as Rolfe writes notes during a field sobriety test in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant, in Atlanta, Ga., on June 12, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
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Rayshard Brooks (C) struggling with Officers Garrett Rolfe (L) and Devin Brosnan in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant, in Atlanta, Ga., on June 13, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

Rolfe’s lawyers and Steven Gaynor, the president of Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police, a police union, argue that Rolfe was justified in the shooting.

Howard told reporters last month that at the time Brooks was shot, “he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injuries to the officer or officers.”

When an officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, then the officer may not use deadly force to stop, unless the officer believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat or death or of serious physical injury to that officer, Howard said.

Rolfe’s lawyers say he heard a sound like a gunshot after Brooks fired the stun gun.

Brosnan, who is facing several lesser charges, was released on bail on June 18.