Atlanta police union and lawmakers held a news conference Sunday calling for a special prosecutor to be named in the Rayshard Brooks case.
The International Brotherhood of Police Officers were joined by several state leaders, including Rep. Doug Collins and Georgia Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, at police headquarters.
The leaders voiced their support for Atlanta police department, but also called for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to step in and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.
“It is time for the district attorney of Fulton County to step aside,” Collins said. “You don’t do it for politics. Your job is to find justice for everyone.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced last week that two officers would be charged in Brooks’ shooting death at an Atlanta Wendy’s.
Former Officer Garrett Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and violations to his oath of office. Officer Devin Brosnan is being charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.
There has been a lot of controversy and questions from the public and legal teams over why Howard didn’t wait for the result of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe before charging the officers.
The attorney general cannot appoint a special prosecutor on his own. Georgia law requires district attorneys to disqualify themselves or for judge to disqualify them before another prosecutor can be appointed.
In the days following the charges, reports came in from across the city that officers were not showing up at work. The department announced in a statement that there were a higher number of callouts, but the city was covered and in no danger.
Dozens of Atlanta police officers along with their families attended Sunday’s news conference and a few spoke up.
“We’re being attacked by Paul Howard. We do the job to protect. We expect to be protected by our leaders and they have all failed us,” one officer said.
Lawmakers also brought up Sunday the hate crime bills up for debate in this year’s session.
The Senate Majority leader said he doesn’t support anyone being targeted by their race, religion, gender or orientation. He said the same applies to those who chose to work as first responders.
“I don’t think you can have that message of unity by passing a law that immediately carves y’all out. You have to be included in this,” Dugan said.
The state representatives and senators who attended Sunday said they will each donate $500 to the Atlanta Police Department.
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