Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday that former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe will face 11 charges, including felony murder, after Rolfe shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks on June 12 in a Wendy's parking lot.
Brooks's death at the hands of local police has launched days of intense protests in Atlanta, and beyond, and has added to the already seismic social justice movement shaking the United States in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
During a press conference announcing the charges, Howard reiterated that based on footage of the shooting, as well as interviews with 10 witnesses, there appeared to be no evidence to support Rolfe's decision to shoot Brooks in the back.
"[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," Howard had previously explained to CNN. "It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident that should have led to someone's death."
Police had initially been called to the Wendy's parking lot after Brooks was found asleep in his vehicle. Rolfe eventually shot Brooks after attempting to handcuff him on suspicion of impaired driving, which prompted Brooks to scuffle for the officer's Taser and flee. According to Howard, Rolfe fired his service weapon, knowing full well that the Taser Brooks had taken from him was inoperable.
"Even though Mr. Brooks was slightly impaired, his demeanor during this incident was almost jovial,” Howard said. “For 41 minutes and 17 seconds he followed every instruction, he answered the questions. Mr. Brooks never displayed any aggressive behavior during the 41 minutes and 17 seconds."
What's more, Howard stressed, neither Rolfe nor fellow officer Devin Brosnan rushed to provide Brooks with medical attention after shooting him.
"During that two minutes and 12 seconds, Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks as he laid on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life,” Howard said. “Officer Brosnan actually stood on Mr. Brooks shoulder."
Brosnan has reportedly offered to testify as a witness against Rolfe, who was fired from the police department shortly after the shooting.