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Police In Rayshard Brooks’ Shooting Collected Shell Casings Instead Of Giving First Aid, Family Lawyer Says
Atlanta officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan were more concerned with “covering their tracks than providing aid” to Rayshard Brooks as he lay dying in a Wendy's parking lot, attorney L. Chris Stewart said.
The Atlanta police officers accused of fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in a fast food parking lot during an arrest for suspected drunk driving opted to first collect shell casings instead of immediately administering first aid to him, a lawyer representing Brooks' family said.
Police waited longer than two minutes to check Brooks’ pulse after fatally shooting him at a Wendy’s drive-thru on Friday, bystanders told his family’s legal team.
“The officers went and put on plastic gloves and picked up their shell casings after they killed him — before rendering aid,” attorney L. Chris Stewart said at a press conference Saturday.
Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan circled Brooks’ limp body seconds after he was shot, according to surveillance footage reviewed by Oxygen.com.
It’s not clear what they’re doing; but at one point, one of the officers appeared to reach down and grab something off the concrete. More than two minutes passed before police appeared to check on him.
“They appear to be caring more about covering their tracks than providing aid,” Stewart said. “Aid that could have saved his life if allegedly he was taken to the hospital and died in surgery. But they didn’t give that to him.”
Brooks' death was later ruled a homicide by Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.
Rolfe, the officer accused of pulling the trigger, was terminated a day after the shooting, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed with Oxygen.com. Brosnan, the other officer, was placed on administrative duty. The Wendy’s location where Brooks was gunned down was subsequently torched, as thousands poured into Atlanta’s streets to protest the police shooting. The explosive series of events prompted the city’s police chief, Erika Shields, to resign.
"Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief,” Shields said in a statement on Sunday.
No arrests have been made in the shooting. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has since taken over the case.
The citywide upheaval follows widespread condemnation of how local police handled the initial wave of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. During the racially charged unrest earlier this month, police were filmed tasing and violently dragging student protesters out of cars. Six Atlanta police officers were charged following that incident, according to a series of criminal complaints obtained by Oxygen.com.
Brooks was confronted by police after he passed out while at the wheel in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane around 10:30 p.m. on Friday. A restaurant employee, who called police, described the 27-year-old as “intoxicated,” according to audio of the 911 call obtained by Oxygen.com. Dispatchers can be heard asking if Brooks is "Black" during the call.
Police found Brooks unresponsive — presumably asleep — at the wheel of his car. He appeared dazed and disoriented, bodycam footage of the incident obtained and reviewed by Oxygen.com showed. He told the officers he had just celebrated his daughter’s birthday.
“I just had a few drinks, that’s it,” he said to officers, before allegedly failing a breathalyzer test.
The interaction between police and Brooks appeared low-key until officers attempted to handcuff him. Brooks, who resisted officers, wrestled free, managed to snatch a taser, and appeared to deploy it at one of the officers as he retreated, according to body camera and surveillance footage of the incident. Other angles of the incident showed Brooks appearing to strike the officers as he wrenched himself free.
“Stop fighting! Stop fighting! Stop fighting! You’re going to get tased!” officers can be heard shouting during the struggle.
Seconds later, Brooks was shot as he fled. He was struck in the back by two bullets, according to an autopsy report. Brooks was transported to hospital where he later died in surgery, authorities said.
Witnesses, who gathered in the parking lot to film the shooting’s aftermath, berated the two officers following the confrontation.
“I feel like both of your careers are definitely done because you shot a man,” one man screamed at police.
A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department declined to comment further on the case on Monday.
Rolfe, officer who fired the fatal shots at Brooks, has racked up a number of citizen complaints, according to the officer's disciplinary history, obtained by Oxygen.com. He was once reprimanded in 2016 for use of a firearm. He was hired by the Atlanta Police Department in 2013.
“Why did he have to kill him?... He had other options than shooting a man in the back?” Stewart, Brooks’ family attorney, said, CNN reported.
“You could have run him down, but instead he got bullets in the back,” the civil rights lawyer added.
Brooks had three daughters between the ages of one and eight, the family said.
“Are you not tired of seeing cases like this happen?” Stewart said. “We see from the protesters and we see from the people in the streets of all races now that people are sick of watching Black men murdered.”
Officials are expected to make a decision this week on whether the two Atlanta policemen accused in Brooks’ death will face charges, a spokesperson for Fulton County Prosecutor’s office said.