Former New York City mayor and President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani weighed in on the police killing of Rayshard Brooks on Sunday, saying that the deadly force was "justified." Like several other public figures, Giuliani argued that Brooks' death was a vastly different circumstance from those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or other unarmed Black Americans killed by police.
Brooks was shot by police in Atlanta, Georgia late on Friday night after he was found sleeping in his car in a Wendy's parking lot. After cooperating with the officers for about 40 minutes, Brooks grabbed a taser from one of their hands and made a run for it, and officer Garrett Rolfe shot him. His death caused a fresh wave of protests and outrage over the weekend, and Giuliani decided to weigh in via Twitter on Sunday morning. "Whatever the Atlanta shooting is," he wrote, "it is not the George Floyd case."
Whatever the Atlanta shooting is, it is not the George Floyd case.
This video appears to present circumstances which may justify this use of force.
The only responsible position is to suspend judgment until a full investigation is done.— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) June 14, 2020
Giuliani referred to the body camera footage released by the Atlanta Police Department on Sunday morning, along with security camera footage from the restaurant where the shooting took place released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He wrote: "This video appears to present circumstances which may justify this use of force. The only responsible position is to suspend judgement until a full investigation is done."
Giuliani's remarks were met with outrage on social media, and his advice was not enacted by Atlanta officials. According to a report by The Associated Press, Rolfe was fired from the police force, while the other officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, was put on administrative duty. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields also resigned from her post on Saturday night, saying that she hoped Atlanta would "move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."
Meanwhile, the city's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, directly contradicted Giuliani. "I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force," she said.
Many users online questioned why Giuliani felt qualified to weigh in on the topic of police brutality at all. During his time as NYC mayor, Giuliani was an outspoken supporter of the stop-and-frisk policy, allowing police to randomly search anyone on the street. The practice was used disproportionately against Black people, and was seen as dehumanizing and racist. According to a report by the ACLU of New York, it showed no marked impact on crime rates.
Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the Wendy's where Brooks was killed on Saturday, with some from within the crowd setting the building on fire and destroying it. Meanwhile, protesters marched to the nearby highway and stopped traffic. Police reportedly made 36 arrests in connection with the protests.