Rayshard Brooks: Both officers charged in shooting turn themselves in to police

ATLANTA — The officers accused of shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks turned themselves in to police Thursday, one day after the Fulton County district attorney brought charges against them.

Former Officer Garrett Rolfe is accused of murder in the death of Brooks. He’s currently being held without bond. Channel 2′s Tony Thomas confirmed late Thursday evening that Rolfe has been moved to the Gwinnett County Jail.

Officer Devin Brosnan is charged with aggravated assault and violation of oath. He bonded out of jail Thursday afternoon.

While a memorial is growing at the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was killed, support is also growing for both of those officers charged in his death.

A group has already raised $250,000 for legal fees.

Channel 2 anchor Justin Wilfon was at the Fulton County Jail where Brosnan turned himself in.

As Brosnan left the jail after making bond, he told reporters outside he had no comment. Rolfe was taken in a side door out of the view of the media.

“We spoke to him to get all the details worked out as far as the fundraising goes and obviously to get his blessing on doing the fundraising on his behalf,” said Josh Watson, Georgia Law Enforcement chief operations officer.

TRENDING STORIES:

The group has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Rolfe’s defense.

But Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard remains confident in the charges against him.

“Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks as he lie on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life,” Howard said.

Brosnan’s attorney spoke outside the jail and said these are dark days for his client.

“He’s very concerned. He’s a law enforcement officer. He’s a policeman. Obviously, he’s never had any problems with the law, needless to say. Hasn’t had any disciplinary issues,' attorney Don Samuels said.

Rolfe’s first court appearance is expected at noon on Friday.

THE SHOOTING:

The charges stem from the weekend police shooting that killed the 27-year-old father of four, who was found sleeping in a car in the drive-thru of a southwest Atlanta Wendy’s.

“He’s very concerned,” Brosnan’s lawyer, Don Samuel, said. “He’s a law enforcement officer, he’s a police man. He’s obviously never had any problems with the law before, never had an disciplinary issues.”

During his news conference, Howard said the district attorney’s office was able to interview 10 witnesses to the shooting and watch eight videos that recorded the event. Those videos included surveillance, body camera and personal cellphone video. They also viewed physical evidence, including inspecting the crime scene, canvassing the area and examining the Tasers that were used prior to bringing these charges against the officers. (WATCH the raw video of Paul Howard’s news conference at the bottom of this story)

[11 charges, including murder, for officer who shot Rayshard Brooks; 2nd officer also charged]

Howard said they concluded from witness statements and the videos that Brooks never presented himself as a threat.

“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.”

On Thursday, Rolfe’s attorneys released the following statement:

“I’ve been prosecuting or defending Georgians in the criminal justice system for 25 years. But never in my career have I seen a District Attorney act so unethically without regard for his professional obligations in pursuit of reelection. Twice in the past few weeks Paul Howard has put his own ambitions ahead of the good of his constituents as he seeks to capitalize on a series of national tragedies.

“Under Georgia’s Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8, Paul Howard is prohibited from making “extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” In fact, he is only permitted to inform the “public of the nature and extent” of his actions “that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose.” He has violated that rule today and also made blatant false statements.

“He has also acted rashly, before the official investigation has been completed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). Had Paul Howard waited for the GBI to complete its investigation he would have learned that while Rayshard Brooks’ death was tragic, Officer Garrett Rolfe’s actions were justified under Georgia law and that there is no legal basis to charge him with 11 felonies.

“On June 12, 2020, Officer Brosnan responded to a call that a person was passed out in a car at a Wendy’s. Suspecting that the driver, Rayshard Brooks, was drunk, Officer Brosnan requested the assistance of an officer with specialized training in conducting DUI investigations: Officer Rolfe. The DUI investigation that followed was routine, and at the end of it, Officer Rolfe determined that he had probable cause arrest Mr. Brooks. No one is disputing that probable cause existed for Mr. Brooks’ arrest. And there is no argument that Officer Rolfe was anything other than courteous to Mr. Brooks over the course of their encounter. There is also no dispute that, up until the moment of his arrest, Mr. Brooks, too, was polite and cooperative.

“Suddenly, something changed. Mr. Brooks began to struggle with, and attack, both Officer Brosnan and Officer Rolfe. Under Georgia law, Mr. Brooks’ forceful resistance to arrest, and his attack on the officers, constituted felony obstruction. All Georgia citizens, including police officers, are entitled to use force to defend themselves from forcible felonies.

“Over the course of the encounter, Officers Brosnan and Rolfe attempted to use the least amount of force necessary to end the encounter and ensure their safety, while Mr. Brooks continued to escalate, until he at last he punched Officer Rolfe in the face, a second felony. Then, Mr. Brooks took Officer Brosnan’s TASER, a third felony. A TASER is an offensive weapon under Georgia law and has been declared to be a deadly weapon by Paul Howard; in fact, one of his investigators swore that a TASER is a deadly weapon before the Honorable Belinda Edwards on June 2, 2020.

“One video shows Mr. Brooks pointing the TASER at Officer Brosnan’s head, and Officer Brosnan’s lawyer stated that Mr. Brooks shot Officer Brosnan with the TASER, a fourth felony. At that point, Officer Rolfe deployed his TASER, but it had no effect. Mr. Brooks began running through the parking lot armed with Officer Brosnan’s TASER. But he wanted to deter pursuit. So instead of continuing to run, he paused, reached back, pointed, and fired what we now know was Officer Brosnan’s TASER at Officer Rolfe; this was an additional aggravated assault, a fifth felony. Officer Rolfe heard a sound like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him, and so he did what any officer in that situation would do: he dropped his TASER, pulled his gun, and fired it at Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks fell to the ground, Officer Rolfe gathered himself, and then he immediately called for EMS and began life-saving measures.

“That Officer Rolfe was justified is clear under Georgia law. A police officer may use deadly force to apprehend a suspected felon when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of physical violence to the officer or others; or when there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm. When Mr. Brooks chose to attack two officers, to disarm one of them, and to point and fire a deadly weapon at Officer Rolfe, he took their lives, and his own, into his hands. He took the risk that their justified response might be a deadly one.

“Nobody is here to applaud the death of Mr. Brooks. He was a father, he was a member of his community, and his death was a tragedy. But not every tragedy is a crime. Time and again in this country, we have used tragic deaths to push for new and harsher prosecutions and for less empathy for the accused. But following every sad event with yet another prosecution isn’t an end to this cycle— it is simply another aspect of its continuation.

“Although we can all understand the grief of Mr. Brooks’ family, Officer Rolfe’s actions were justified by the law. But Paul Howard’s choice to charge him is justified only by his hopes to improve his performance against Fani Willis in the upcoming runoff election.”

FULL RAYSHARD BROOKS COVERAGE: