Two Atlanta officers will no longer face charges and have been exonerated in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, prosecutors said on Tuesday (August 23).
News of the exoneration comes more than two years after Brooks was killed at the hands of police during an encounter outside of an Atlanta Wendy's.
During a press conference Tuesday, Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Executive Director Pete Skandalakis handed down his decision to dismiss the charges against the officers who shot Brooks, citing that their use of force was reasonable, per WSB News.
“You look at the totality of the circumstances. What did the officer know in that time, in that moment, in that split second,” Skandalakis said.
On the night of June 12, 2020, officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan responded to Brooks asleep in the Atlanta Wendy's drive-thru.
After being awoken by police, Brooks engaged in a struggle with officers, grabbed one of their Tasers, and attempted to flee the scene, according to law enforcement officials.
Police say Brooks' pointed the Taser at Rolfe's head, and officers responded with shots that killed him.
Following the shooting, Rolfe was charged with 11 crimes including felony murder, aggravated assault, and more. Brosnan also faced charges of aggravated assault and violation of oath of office.
Skandalakis said Tuesday that the department brought in outside experts to examine body camera footage of the fatal incident frame-by-frame.
At the press conference, the prosecutor detailed his decision to drop the charges, saying that Brooks escalated an otherwise calm encounter.
He alleged that Brooks fired the Taser at officers multiple times before they fired the fatal shots.
Skandalakis added that he doesn't believe the shooting was race-motivated. The nation's racial reckoning and protests against police brutality in the summer of 2020 led to a strong reaction to Brooks' death, the prosecutor said.
“This is not a case in which an officer was kneeling on a prone suspect for nine minutes, nor was it like the Ahmaud Arbery case, where armed citizens were chasing a young man through a neighborhood,” Skandalakis said.
Atlanta police released a statement Tuesday about the charges being dropped against Rolfe and Bronson.
“We have faith in the criminal justice system, and we respect the special prosecutor’s decision in this case. Both Officer Garrett Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan are still employed with APD," the statement reads. "They are currently on administrative duty. Both officers will undergo Georgia P.O.S.T. recertification and training.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens also issued a statement, saying in part, “My heart continues to ache for the family of Rayshard Brooks. He was a father whose absence will forever be felt by our community. This matter was referred to the special prosecutor last year. I respect the independent role that the special prosecutor played in this case.
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