Stepmother of Ex-Police Officer Says Her Firing Was Motivated by Politics

Stepmother of Ex-Police Officer Says Her Firing Was Motivated by Politics
Rayshard Brooks speaking with Officer Garrett Rolfe in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant, in Atlanta, Ga., late on June 12, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
Zachary Stieber

The stepmother of former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe says she was fired the day after Rolfe was charged with murder because of politics.

"It was a political move," Melissa Rolfe told Fox News.

Melissa Rolfe was a human resource director for Equity Prime Mortgage until June 18.

Garrett Rolfe shot Rayshard Brooks after Brooks resisted arrest outside a Wendy's early June 13. After the shooting, Melissa Rolfe said Equity's president called her and offered 6 to 8 weeks of paid time off so she could spend time with her family.

She said she offered to work from home but was turned down.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Garrett Rolfe on June 17 with felony murder and other charges, including oath of office violations.

The following day, Melissa Rolfe said, she was called by her direct manager, who told her that she was bring fired and did not say why.

'A Hostile Working Environment'

Equity said that Rolfe's termination "was a direct result of her actions in the workplace and violation of company policy."
"While working with Melissa as she transitioned to a leave of absence granted by our organization, we discovered she violated company policy and created an uncomfortable working environment for many of our employees," the company said.

Rolfe “ultimately lost the confidence of her peers, leadership, and many employees who no longer felt comfortable engaging with her,” the company continued. When employees’ views “create a hostile working environment,” they can be fired, it said.

Rolfe told Fox that the firing left her stunned.

She called Equity's statement false, recounting how her manager and the company's president had previously told her that things were fine at the office.

"Everything's fine. My job was fine. Don't worry about it. We're not getting any negative feedback. So I was very surprised at how I was able to create a hostile work environment. I hadn't been back," she said.

Rolfe said posts she made on Facebook expressing her support for her stepson may have led to her firing.

One showed a picture saying "I stand with Officer Rolfe" and directing people to a fundraiser for the former officer's legal fund.

In another post, Melissa Rolfe said she supported officers calling out sick or otherwise missing work, a phenomenon some refer to as the "blue flu."

None of the posts were reasons to fire her, Melissa Rolfe alleged.

The company's president, Eddy Perez, she said, later called her and said some security guards at the office were upset with her.

"Supposedly the statement was, 'Did you know your HR director's son killed one of our brothers?'" Rolfe said the president told her, adding, "I was flabbergasted."

Equity and Perez didn't respond to requests for comment.