The shooting of Rayshard Brooks by a white Atlanta police officer has sparked a new wave of protests in the city and the country which was still mourning the death of George Floyd. The killing of the African American brings with it the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. The officer who shot Brooks has been identified as Garrett Rolfe and is dismissed from the duty while a second officer, Devin Brosnan linked with the incident has been put on administrative duty.
“There is clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms said in a news conference Saturday. “I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force.”
The death of the 27-year old father which resulted in a litany of consequences for the Atlanta has raised new questions on the police brutality in the United States. Several videos available from the Wendy’s parking lot during the Friday night encounter shed some light on what really happened.
As per Georgia Bureau of Investigation, police received a call from the Wendy’s reporting that an asleep man in vehicle is blocking the drive-thru of the fast-food chain. The footage at the start is recorded from a body camera worn by Brosnan who arrives at the scene and approaches Brook’s vehicle parked in the drive-thru lane. The timestamp on the camera shows 10:40 pm ET on Friday.
As Brosnan reaches the vehicle of Brooks, he knocks on the window to end his slumber. The officer opens the door and says, “Hey man, you are parked in the middle of the drive-thru line here.” At first, Brooks didn’t’ respond. After some moments, he does wake up but appears unprepared and incoherent. Brosnan inquires whether he is tired and then tells Brooks to find a parking spot and pull over. The disoriented Brooks after some poking manages to wake up and responds to the directives of the officer.
The white officer then reaches the vehicle used by Brooks and asks if he has been drinking. Brooks answers that he had only one drink. As Brooks start to look for his license, Brosnan in the meantime radios to get an officer to conduct a DUI testing.
At one point, Brooks tells Brosnan that he is visiting.
“Who are you visiting?” the officer asks.
“My mother’s gravesite,” Brooks answers.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Brosnan shows his concern.
Rolf arrives at the scene a few minutes later and following a brief interaction with Brosnan starts to question the drive as to how he got there. Brooks claims he doesn’t remember being in the drive-thru and it appears he has no idea of his whereabouts.
After some talk, Brooks at 11 pm gets a field sobriety test. Brooks is heard, saying, “What should I do, sir?”
He undergoes some tests for the assessment of DUI by the officers before being asked by Rolfe how he feels on a scale of 1 to 10.
“I feel kind of good, sir,” Brooks responds.
Rolfe then brings a Breathalyzer from Brooks, who confesses he had been drinking and that it was his daughter’s birthday.
“I think you’ve had too much to drink to be driving,” Rolfe says. “Put you hands behind your back.”
The bodycam recording shows, it is 11: 23 pm.
As Rolfe attempts to handcuff the intoxicated black man, a struggle starts. The footage – of bodycams worn by Rolfe and Brosnan – from here does not give a significant glimpse of what is happening and both the cams worn by officers fell off in the battle to take Brooks down to properly handcuff him.
A second footage recorded by dashcam camera in the police vehicles shows the altercation and the three men can be seen clearly involved in a grapple as they take down each other on the ground. The cruiser’s video shows the Brosnan gearing up to use Taser to end the scuffle as Rolfe holds Brooks from behind.
“You’re going to get Tase,” one of the officers says.
Another video of the scuffle recorded by a bystander shows Brooks snatches the taster.
“Hands off the fu**ing Taser,” one of the police says. “Hands off the Taser.”
The encounter continues as one of the officers says, “Stop fighting.”
Eventually, Brooks is successful in getting his hand on the stun gun and liberates himself from the arrest. As he manages to stand on the ground, he hits Rolfe in the face. Rolfe readying his Taser in the next moment fires on Brooks as attempts an escape.
A Wendy’s surveillance camera captured the moment Brooks was shot. As Brooks runs from the arrest, he comes in the frame of security cameras carrying the snatched Taser. Rolfe with his Taser follows him on the run and switches the Taser from his right hand to his left to unholster his handgun. Brooks at that that moment turns back and points Taser at Rolfe who from the close-range shots the black man. Brooks falling on the ground is captured by the surveillance camera without the sound but all other cameras recorded the sound of three gunshots.
Chris Stewart, an attorney representing Brooks family, said the officers could arrest him without shooting adding that Taser is not a deadly weapon.
“If the officer had been a bit more emphatic and a bit less scared, we probably wouldn’t have a dead client,” Steward said.