Rayshard Brooks shooting: US policeman faces murder charge

By BBC
A police officer who fatally shot a fleeing black man in the back last week in Atlanta,Georgia, will be charged with murder and assault, officials say.
Garrett Rolfe, who has already been fired, faces 11 charges related to Rayshard Brooks’ death.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
The other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, will testify as a prosecution witness in the case, officials said.
The case comes amid US protests over police killings of Black Americans.
Lawmakers in Washington are currently debating new police reform laws.
Officials said this was the ninth time that an Atlanta police officer had been prosecuted for homicide.
They added that it is believed to be the first time a police officer would testify against a member of his own unit, though Mr Brosnan’s lawyer denied his client would be a witness in the case.
President Trump has said he is concerned about the way the case against Mr Rolfe is being handled.
“I hope he gets a fair shake because police have not been treated fairly in our country,” he told Fox News.
“You can’t resist a police officer like that,” he added, referring to Mr Brooks’ actions during the incident.
Mr Brooks, 27, failed a sobriety test on 12 June after he was found asleep inside his car that was blocking a drive-through lane at a Wendy’s restaurant.
After pulling over his vehicle, the father-of-four appeared “slightly impaired, but his behaviour during this incident was almost jovial”, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said on Wednesday.
For over 40 minutes a video shows him complying with officers as he consented to a weapons search and provided them with his identification details.
However, as officers tried to handcuff him, he began struggling. The footage appears to show Mr Brooks punched Mr Rolfe, grabbed Mr Brosnan’s stun gun and turned back while fleeing to fire it at Mr Rolfe.
Mr Brooks suffered two gunshots to the back that caused organ injuries and blood loss. One police bullet also hit a witness’ vehicle, nearly killing the driver, investigators say.
The struggle that cost Rayshard Brooks his life
Prosecutors said Mr Rolfe said: “I got him.” For over two minutes after Mr Brooks was shot, neither officer provided medical attention as police are required to do, prosecutors said.
Instead, Mr Rolfe kicked Mr Brooks while he was on the ground, Mr Howard added.
Officer Brosnan – who has already been placed on administrative leave – will be charged with assault for allegedly standing on Mr Brooks’ shoulder as he lay dying.
The district attorney said that eight videos from the scene showed Mr Brooks “displayed no aggressive behaviour during the 41 minutes and 17 seconds” that he was questioned, and posed no physical risk to the officers in that time.
“I believe that at the time of the shooting, Mr Brooks did not represent a threat,” Mr Howard said, noting that police rules prohibit firing a Taser at a fleeing suspect.
The shooting came as the nation was already in an uproar over the death in police custody of another unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The four officers involved in Mr Floyd’s arrest have been sacked and are facing charges of second-degree murder, or aiding and abetting murder.
The Wendy’s restaurant where Mr Brooks died was burned down after about 1,000 protesters turned up there in the hours after his death. His death also led to the resignation of Atlanta’s chief of police.
A lawyer for Mr Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, told the Associated Press that he was not aware of some of the details announced on Wednesday, such as Mr Rolfe’s alleged kick as Mr Brooks lay dying.
“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s an attempt to redefine justice,” said lawyer L Chris Stewart.

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