According to Fulton County prosecutors, the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in the drive-thru line at Wendy's may face murder charges. The felony murder charge for Garret Rolfe could be decided as early as this week.
"(Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable," Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN. "If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer's life or prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law."
Rayshard Brooks was unarmed, had been patted down, searched, and interrogated for nearly 30 minutes by two police officers in the Wendy's parking lot when Garrett Rolfe decided to execute him. Body cam footage: pic.twitter.com/4XOTybPUDX— Camila (@camilateleSUR) June 14, 2020
Howard noted that the autopsy of Brook's body was completed Sunday, with the medical examiner's report and ballistics details needed before any call is made this week according to the New York Post. This step in the fast-moving case comes after protests erupted in the city following the shooting Friday night. Rolfe was quickly fired after incident.
"There are really three charges that are relevant," Howard continued. "One would be the murder charge in the state of Georgia. That charge is a charge that is directly related to an intent to kill. The second charge is felony murder. And that is a charge that involves a death that comes as a result of the commission of an underlying felony. In this case, that underlying felony would be aggravated assault. But I believe in this instance, what we have to choose between — if there's a choice to be made — is between murder and felony murder."
Prosecutors noted that they were facing difficulties in obtaining body cam and dashcam footage from Atlanta police. Still, many of the details have been captured in the videos released since the incident. Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan can be seen calmly talking with Brooks before the shooting, giving him a breathalyzer test and asking him questions. It wasn't until police began to place cuffs on him that Brooks started to resist and fight officers. He then grabbed one of their tasers and seemed to shoot it at the officers before the fatal shots were fired. Three of those shots would hit Brooks and kill him, the latest in a string of high-profile incidents that sparked protests around the globe against police brutality.
The George Bureau of Investigation is also probing the shooting, while Howard says his decision to press charges could happen on Wednesday. He was also sure to single out the words Rolfe said after killing Brooks.
"There's one good thing about video," Howard continued with the outlet. "Because in the video we actually get a chance to hear the officer's first statement after the shooting took place. And what the officer said is not that his life was saved. What his statement was, he said, 'I got him.'"