ATLANTA — Nearly two years after Rayshard Brooks was killed in an encounter with police outside an Atlanta Wendy’s, prosecuting attorneys are faced with the decision about whether or not they will move forward with the prosecution of two officers involved in Brooks’ death.
A special prosecutor confirmed to Channel 2′s Mark Winne that in a matter of days, he expects a breakdown of the evidence by experts that should provide the deciding factor in whether charges against the officers will move forward or if one or both cases are dismissed.
Brooks was killed on June 12, 2020, after he fell asleep in a car in a Wendy’s drive-through parking lot. When officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan confronted him, he grabbed Brosnan’s taser and tried to run away. Rolfe ran after Brooks and shot him after Brooks’ pointed the taser at Rolfe’s head.
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Rolfe was subsequently charged with eleven crimes including felony murder, aggravated assault and more. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and two counts of violation of oath of office.
Channel 2′s Mark Winne talked to Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Executive Director Pete Skandalakis, who said he has three options when it comes to handling the two officers’ cases, one of which is not to move forward with prosecuting the officers at all.
He said the other two options are presenting formal charges in the form of an indictment against one or both officers for a vote by a criminal grand jury. The other is to seek a special grand jury which would investigate and could recommend whether to send the case to a criminal grand jury for consideration of charges.
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“Any time you have a death involved, there are a lot of emotions involved, and then you have the complication here, the complications of race and police officers being involved. so we understand the magnitude of this case,” Skandalakis said. “I can’t control the facts in this case. I can’t make everybody happy, and when you try to make everybody happy, no one is happy.”
Skandalakis said he’s commissioned a new report from a group of experts that he expects to get any day now that will be critical in making his decision.
Skandalakis took the case over in 2021 from previous Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. Howard’s successor, Fani Willis, basically disqualified herself for a conflict of interest, and the attorney general appointed Skandalakis to take over.
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He said a GBI investigation was not complete when the warrants were sought, but Skandalakis has the agency’s finished probe, and it’s good, but he hopes the new report will include even more details.
“It will give us an analysis of a number of factors in the case,” Skandalakis said. “It will be critical in our decision-making process.”
A statement from Rolfe’s lawyers said the charges in the case were “not supported by the evidence.”
“We look forward to a thorough and complete investigation and the ultimate exoneration of Officer Rolfe,” the lawyers said.
In the past, Brosnan’s lawyer Don Samuel has said that his client is unequivocally not guilty of the aggravated assault and violation of oath charges he faces for what happened after the Brooks shooting.
“I’ve been a prosecutor now almost 39 years you know,” Skandalakis said. “The only thing that has guided me is to do the right thing, let the chips fall where they may and then be transparent about my decisions.”
Skandalakis said the case is a tragedy no matter what he decides, with the loss of a man’s life, the future’s of two officers at stake and for the shooting’s impact on the community.
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