Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced on Wednesday that the police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks last week was being charged with felony murder and that Brooks did not pose a threat to the officer even though Brooks fired a taser at the officer.
The remarks from Howard come after he charged a police officer earlier this month “for pointing a taser” at someone because a taser is considered to be a “deadly weapon” under Georgia law.
In explaining the charges against former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, Howard said, “We’ve concluded at the time Mr. Brooks was shot that he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or officers.”
Howard continued by noting that Brooks fired a taser, which he took from the officer on scene, at Rolfe and that Rolfe opened fire on Brooks after that.
“But I don’t know if you can see it clearly,” Howard told the media in announcing the charges on Wednesday while showing a blown-up photograph of the incident. “The prongs from the taser were actually fired above Officer Rolfe here.”
Howard went on to say that after Brooks fired the taser at Rolfe, the distance between the two increased, leading Howard to say, “So based upon that information, we have concluded that Mr. Brooks was running away at the time that the shot was fired. Mr. Brooks was shot twice in the back.”
Earlier this month, however, Howard announced charges against several police officers in a case about alleged excessive use of force against two college students during the protests that took place after the death of George Floyd.
In announcing charges against one of the officers, Howard said that the officer was charged with “aggravated assault” for “pointing a taser” at one of the students because “under Georgia law a taser is considered a deadly weapon.”
DA Paul Howard: “We’ve concluded at the time Brooks was shot that he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical to the officer… Brooks [fired] a taser [at the cop]”
He charged a cop on 06/02 “for pointing a taser” since “a taser is considered a deadly weapon” pic.twitter.com/mGMXh7RGtX
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 18, 2020
On Wednesday evening, the Atlanta Police Department announced that they were receiving a “higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift.”
APD tweeted: “Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.”
Atlanta Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN during an interview that the situation in the city has been “very tough” over the past few weeks over the two incidents with law enforcement.
“Across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down ten-fold,” Bottoms said.
When asked by Cuomo how many officers were calling out in this “apparent revolt,” Bottoms responded: “Well, we don’t have a count yet because we were in the midst of a shift change, but what I do know is that we do have enough officers to cover us through the night.”
“Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out,” she added. “But it’s just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”
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