The killing of Rayshard Brooks has stoked fury on the streets of Atlanta. Picture: Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
The killing of Rayshard Brooks has stoked fury on the streets of Atlanta. Picture: Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Cops abandon city in furious reaction

Cops have refused to turn up to work en-masse in the city of Atlanta for three days after officers were charged following the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

Garrett Rolfe is facing death row and has been charged with murder after firing his weapon at Mr Brooks, who fired a stun gun back at the officer during a chase outside a Wendy's in Atlanta. Another officer, Devin Brosnan has also been charged.

In reaction to the charges, Atlanta police officers have called out sick from Wednesday night and continuing through Friday this week.

Law enforcement sources told CNN the majority of the city's police officers scheduled to work in two of the city's six police zones did not report for work on Friday.

The Atlanta Police Foundation has even resorted to giving a bonus of $500 for each officer to boost morale.

Interim police Chief Rodney Bryant told reporters there enough officers remain to protect the city.

Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back and killed by police on the weekend. Picture: Atlanta Police Department via AP
Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back and killed by police on the weekend. Picture: Atlanta Police Department via AP

A lawyer for Mr Brooks' family said the whole situation could have been avoided if the officers involved tried to catch the suspect instead of firing at 27-year-old African-American Mr Brooks, who was sleeping in his car when police interviewed him and made him do a sobriety test.

However Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, who has taught hundreds of police officers about the use of force over his career spanning decades in Georgia, said the idea that police should have tried to catch Mr Brooks was "ridiculous".

"If an officer is hit with that Taser, all of his muscles will be locked up, and he'll have the inability to move and to respond, and yet he is still responsible for every weapon on his belt," Mr Williams told CNN this week.

"If that officer is hit he still has the firearm on his side and the likelihood of him being stomped in the head or having his firearm taken was a probability and he did what he needed to do.

"This was a completely justified shooting."

A judge on Friday denied bail for Brosnan who has been charged with felony murder and other crimes.

Judge Jeffrey Frazier found probable cause exists to detain Rolfe for the slaying of Mr Brooks.

Officers Garrett Rolfe, left, and Devin Brosnan have turned themselves in. Picture: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP
Officers Garrett Rolfe, left, and Devin Brosnan have turned themselves in. Picture: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Disciplinary records released Friday by police show that Rolfe, who became an Atlanta police officer in September 2014, was cleared after investigations into several citizen complaints over the years but was once reprimanded for pointing a gun at a car during a chase.

Mr Brooks' killing rocked a city - and a nation - still reeling after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis last month.

Police were called to the Wendy's on June 12 over complaints of a car blocking the drive-through lane.

An officer found Mr Brooks asleep in the car. Police body-camera video showed Mr Brooks and officers having a relatively calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes before things rapidly turned violent when officers tried to handcuff him and Mr Brooks resisted.

Mr Brooks and the two officers wrestled, and then Mr Brooks grabbed one of their stun guns and fired it in their direction as he ran through the parking lot.

An autopsy found that Mr Brooks was shot twice in the back.

In announcing charges Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Brooks wasn't a deadly threat when he was shot and that Rolfe kicked him and offered no medical treatment for over two minutes as Mr Brooks lay dying. Another officer, Brosnan, who the prosecutor said stood on Mr Brooks' shoulder as he struggled for his life, was charged with aggravated assault and violation of his oath.

Protesters burned the Wendy’s restaurant down. Picture: Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Protesters burned the Wendy’s restaurant down. Picture: Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Mr Howard also said the pair failed to tell Brooks he was under arrest before trying to handcuff him.

Lawyers for both men have said their clients' actions were justified. Rolfe was fired and Brosnan is on desk duty. Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down less than 24 hours after Mr Brooks died.

The felony murder charge against Rolfe, 27, carries life in prison or the death penalty, if prosecutors decide to seek it. He was also charged with 10 other offences punishable by decades behind bars.

The district attorney said Brosnan, 26, is co-operating with prosecutors and will testify. But his attorneys said he hasn't agreed to be a witness for prosecutors.

One of his lawyers, Don Samuel, said Brosnan suffered a concussion during the struggle with Mr Brooks and put his foot on Brooks only briefly when he heard gunshots because he didn't know where they were coming from and was worried Mr Brooks may have had access to a weapon.

Lawyers for Rolfe have said the officer feared for his safety and that of others around him and was justified in shooting Mr Brooks.

Rolfe opened fire after hearing a sound "like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him," apparently from the stun gun, they said.

Originally published as Cops abandon city in furious reaction


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