By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) – A former Atlanta police officer who shot a Black man twice in the back, touching off mass demonstrations and the burning of the fast-food restaurant where the killing occurred, is scheduled to face a judge on Tuesday for a bond hearing.
Garret Rolfe, 27, is charged with felony murder and 10 other offenses in the June 12 shooting of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s parking lot in south Atlanta. The incident, caught on surveillance and cellphone video, was widely viewed on social media.
In a motion filed on Monday, attorneys for Rolfe argued he deserved to be released on bond because he was a “longstanding, law-abiding member of the community, who will stay here to fight this case.”
The motion said there was strong evidence in Rolfe’s defense, asserting the former officer was legally justified in using deadly force as he was acting in self-defense.
The death of Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, heightened tensions over police brutality and racism stoked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Before the deadly encounter, Brooks was found sleeping in his car in the Wendy’s drive-thru, and had failed a sobriety test. He tussled with Rolfe and another police officer, wrested away one of their taser stun guns and ran, officials said. He appeared to fire the taser toward the officers, and was then shot twice in the back with one bullet piercing his heart as he fled.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has pursued the case aggressively, arguing that Brooks was not a threat.
Rolfe was fired and has been held without bond at the Gwinnett County jail. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, 26, was placed on administrative duty and charged with aggravated assault. The city’s police chief resigned after the incident.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Bernadette Baum)