Rayshard Brooks' niece is speaking out after he was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer Friday after falling asleep in the Wendy's drive-thru. At a family press conference Monday, she said the world had lost "a girl dad" and "a loving husband" after Brooks was killed.
"He had the brightest smile and the biggest heart. On June 12, one of our biggest fears became our reality," she said, as per CNN. "No one walking this green earth expects to be shot and killed like trash in the street for falling asleep in the drive-thru."
Brooks was contacted by police after falling asleep in his car, and body camera footage of the encounter released by police show more than 20 minutes of a cordial conversation between the officers and the 27-year-old before things took a turn for the worse. Brooks offered to walk to his sister's house, but when asked to take a sobriety test by police, he failed. The situation then broke into a fight, at which point Brooks grabbed one of the officer's Tasers and ran away. Officer Garrett Rolfe chased him, and after Brooks spun while running to fire the taser, Rolfe fired his handgun three times, killing Brooks.
The Fulton County medical examiner ruled Brooks' death a homicide, citing two gunshots to the back. Rolfe was fired immediately after the incident, and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN he is debating charges of murder and felony murder for the fired officer. No charges have been fired at this point.
Brooks' wife, Tomika Miller, called her husband "a great man" in an interview with CBS This Morning. "It was murder. That was not justified," she said. "Because he was shot and he wasn't armed. He wasn't dangerous." Miller compared the death of Brooks, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer, to the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died in police custody on May 25 after white former officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for close to nine minutes as he pleaded he couldn't breathe. Both deaths have been protested as part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
"Rayshard Brooks is everybody. Just like George is everybody. We are all the people, we are all God's children," Miller told CBS This Morning. She added of the kind of person her husband was,"He was an awesome father, awesome husband. He was loving kind ... even when he was upset, he held it in. You wouldn’t know, you would have to make him talk about it."