ATLANTA — Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said that he hopes to have a decision on whether or charges will be filed against the Atlanta Police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks by Wednesday.
Howard said in a statement Sunday that he and members of his staff witnessed Brooks' autopsy Sunday as part of the investigation.
Brooks was killed after a confrontation with an Atlanta police officer who was conducting a sobriety check on Friday outside an Atlanta Wendy’s. The officer who shot him, Garrett Rolfe, has been fired. The other officer who responded to the scene, Devin Bronsan, has been placed on administrative leave.
Brooks’ death set off a firestorm of protests Saturday night, which led to the Wendy’s where the shooting happened being torched. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned after Brooks’ death.
Howard said in the statement that his office is working hard to bring the case to a conclusion, but there are still experiencing some difficulty in obtaining all of the body cam and dash cam footage from the Atlanta Police Department.
In an interview with ABC News, Howard said that after the shooting, his office immediately put together their own independent investigation. He said his office is carefully examining the footage and witness accounts piece by piece.
Howard said that he was in disbelief after he watched the body camera footage and surveillance videos. He said he’s reviewing the sequence of events and he’ll also consider several other factors.
"What we have to decide is, based upon the prevailing law in this country and in our state, is whether or not at the time that shot was fired, whether or not it was done to save the life of that officer, that officer was firing that shot because he felt that he was in imminent danger of whether or not it was for some other reason," Howard said.
Howard said he’d also consider things like the distance between Rolfe and Brooks and what circumstances the officer was aware of before the shooting took place.
Howard said that based on the 22 minutes leading up to the shooting, it's shocking that Brooks ended up dead.
"During that 22 minutes, Mr. Brooks was very cordial," Howard said. "I mean, he didn't display any ill temper until at the very end when he tried to run away. He never attempted to get a weapon or anything of that sort. And so you're watching it. If you didn't know any better, you would never imagine that this man would end up dead."
Howard said that no matter what decision he makes about whether to charge Rolfe or the other officer who responded to the scene, there needs to be systematic change in this country.
“There needs to be some law change, some policy changes, not only here in our community, but all over the country,” Howard said. “Since Dr. King challenged this country to do something about police brutality back in 1973, we haven’t had any significant changes in the laws regarding police misconduct. We need some concrete changes until those concrete changes take place then.”
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