Former Atlanta Police Officer Charged With Murder Seeking Bond

June 30, 2020 Updated: July 1, 2020

Update: Rolfe was granted bond and was released.

Original story below.

Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe is seeking to be released on bail ahead of his trial on felony murder.

Bond should be granted because Rolfe was justified in using deadly force against Rayshard Brooks, his attorneys said in a motion filed Monday.

A bond hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Rolfe, 27, is charged with murder and 10 other charges, including a number of oath of office violations, after fatally shooting Brooks, who was blocking traffic in a Wendy’s drive-through.

Officers received a 911 call on June 12 because Brooks was asleep or passed out in his vehicle. The car was blocking traffic in a Wendy’s drive-through.

After Brooks failed sobriety tests, Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, tried taking him into custody. Brooks, who had a criminal past, resisted arrest, stealing Brosnan’s stun gun and firing it at least twice at the officers.

Epoch Times Photo
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)
Epoch Times Photo
Rayshard Brooks (L) and Officer Garrett Rolfe pointing stun guns at one another, while Officer Devin Brosnan is seen getting up after a struggle among the three men in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant, in Atlanta, Ga., early June 13, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

As Brooks moved away from Rolfe, the officer fired his weapon several times, hitting Brooks twice. Brooks died.

Rolfe’s lawyers said in the motion, “There is significant evidence that proves he was legally justified in using deadly force in this case.”

They argued he was acting in self-defense, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Al Hogan, an Atlanta Police Department homicide detective, wrote a letter that was attached to the bond motion. Hogan said he was preparing to seek a number of criminal charges against Brooks before he learned that he had died, including driving while intoxicated, aggravated assault against a police officer, and felony obstruction.

A lawyer representing Brooks’s family didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rolfe’s attorneys also said the former officer is a longtime member of the community and doesn’t pose a flight risk.

rayshard brooks
Rayshard Brooks speaks during an interview about five months before an Atlanta police officer shot and killed him June 2020. (Reconnect via AP)
Officer Garrett Rolfe
Then-Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after the shooting death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, in an undated photograph released in Atlanta, Ga., June 14, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via Reuters)

Charges Filed

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Rolfe on June 17, just five days after the incident.

Howard, who declined to wait for a probe conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to conclude, argued that Brooks didn’t pose a threat to the officers and said federal and state law prohibits officers using deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect unless the officer believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat or death or of serious physical injury to that officer.

“At the time Mr. Brooks was shot, he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injuries to the officer or officers,” Howard told reporters when he announced the charge.

The district attorney’s office reviewed video evidence, spoke with 10 witnesses, saw a ballistics report, and consulted with an expert on stun guns before charging the officers. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and two violations of his oath. He has said he didn’t do anything wrong.

Rolfe’s attorneys said previously that Rolfe “heard a sound like a gunshot” when Brooks fired the stun gun at him.

“Fearing for his safety, and the safety of the civilians around him, Officer Rolfe dropped his Taser and fired his service weapon at the only portion of Mr. Brooks that presented to him—Mr. Brooks’s back,” they said in a statement.

Steven Gaynor, president of Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police, told The Epoch Times that he believes the shooting was justified.

“What you’re going to find, when the GBI finally completes their investigation, they’re going to find no excessive use of force and no violations,” he said.

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