Officers Did Not Commit Crimes in Fatal Shooting of Rayshard Brooks: Special Prosecutor

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
August 23, 2022 Updated: August 23, 2022

Two police officers charged in the fatal shooting of a man in Georgia in 2020 committed no crimes and will have all charges against them dropped, a special prosecutor announced on Aug. 23.

Atlanta Police Department officers Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe “acted as reasonable officers” when dealing with Rayshard Brooks, who resisted arrest after falling asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through lane, special prosecutor Pete Skandalakis told a news conference.

Skandalakis, a former district attorney, was appointed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, disqualified her office from the case.

Brosnan responded to a call late June 12, 2020, about a man who passed out in a vehicle at the Wendy’s, blocking traffic, and smelled alcohol after approaching Brooks’s vehicle. Rolfe, a certified DUI officer, soon responded to the scene.

After testing Brooks’s sobriety for about 40 minutes, the officers tried placing him under arrest but Brooks resisted, leading to a scuffle.

Brooks stole Brosnan’s stun gun and fired it at the officers. Rolfe pulled his gun and struck brooks twice. Brooks died from the wounds, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.

Brooks “beat the crap out of the two officers,” Danny Porter, another former prosecutor who assisted Skandalakis, said.

At one point, Brosnan suffered a concussion during the tumult. Rolfe was justified in using force, according to Skandalakis.

“Given the quickly changing circumstances, was it objectively reasonable that he used deadly force? And we conclude it was,” he said.

Reaction

“We have faith in the criminal justice system, and we respect the special prosecutor’s decision in this case,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement. Rolfe and Brosnan, who are on administrative duty, will undergo recertification and training.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, a Democrat, said he respected the decision and that his “heart continues to ache for the family of Rayshard Brooks.”

A lawyer for Rolfe told news outlets that the officer is “relieved” that the charges will be dismissed.

“This was the proper and only decision that could be reached based upon the evidence and Georgia law,” an attorney for Brosnan added.

Gerald Griggs, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was among those in disagreement with the special prosecutor.

“We have two different prosecutors with two different charging opinions, therefore the case needs to be presented to a grand jury for the citizens of Fulton County to make a decision,” Griggs said in a statement.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.