The attorney for Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, believes the charges Fulton Country District Attorney Paul Howard filed against his client were rushed. Brooks was killed in a Wendy's parking lot on June 12, when Rolfe and Devin Brosnan responded to a call of a man sleeping in his car, parked in the drive-thru lane. Rolfe was fired and Police Chief Erika Shields resigned hours after the shooting.
Rolfe's criminal defense attorney Lance LoRusso told ABC News the charges against Rolfe were filed too quickly and came before the Georgia Bureau of Investigations submitted its investigation into the shooting. LoRusso said the GBI usually takes 60 to 90 days to submit its findings, but Howard, "who is under investigation by the GBI, decided that he wasn't going to wait for their investigation." It was "absolutely inappropriate and should concern everyone that an independent agency was brought out to do this investigation and that investigation was basically usurped, possibly interfered with," LoRusso added. He said no investigation "that short" could be considered credible.
After Howard announced the charges against Rolfe, the GBI confirmed their investigators were "not consulted" by Howard. The GBI said it will continue its "impartial and thorough investigation of this incident," which will still be filed to the District Attorney's office. LoRusso said Rolfe is cooperating with the GBI investigation because it is "necessary that they have the full picture."
Rolfe faces 11 charges linked to Brooks' death, including felony murder. Brosnan, who was at the scene and put on administrative leave, faces lesser charges of aggravating assault and violating his oath of office. If convicted of felony murder, Rolfe could be sentenced to life in prison. Howard said he does not plan to seek the death penalty.
Body camera footage from the night Brooks was killed shows the officers and Brooks getting into a struggle when the officers tried to arrest him. The officers told Brooks would be Tasered. Brooks got a hold of one of the officers' Tasers and tried to flee the scene. Brooks appeared to turn and tried to aim the Taser at Rolfe, who filed his weapon three times at Brooks. Howard said Rolfe knew the Taser Brooks had was fired twice, meaning Brooks could "not post an immediate threat of death or serious injury" to Rolfe.
LoRusso disagreed with Howard's findings and said Rolfe's actions were appropriate. "He's a highly trained officer," LoRusso told ABC News. "And the officers trained for this type of scenario -- a Taser can absolutely incapacitate an officer, and if they're incapacitated at that point, they can be disarmed." LoRusso also believes the footage shows Brooks was "turning to fight" Rolfe when Rolfe fired. The attorney also believes the video shows "no delay in providing treatment" to Brooks.