In a controversial statement, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that the officer involved in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks has been charged with Murder.
During a press conference with the media, Howard claimed that Brooks never displayed any "aggressive behavior."
Furthermore, the DA claimed that the officers at the scene failed to provide "timely" medical attention to Brooks after he was shot.
What's particularly interesting, though, is that Brooks stole a weapon off the body of the officer.
He then fired the taser at the officers.
Yet the DA is claiming that Brooks never displayed any "aggressive behavior."
This assessment is the very reason why the officer is being charged with murder.
More details on this surprising charge below:
With "defund the police" rhetoric spreading across the nation, many observers fear that this charge is politically motivated.
If convicted, the officer, who appeared to fire out of self defense, could face the death penalty.
CBS News has more details:
The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot a black man as he ran away with the officer's Taser last week has been charged with murder, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday. Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after the killing of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, faces 11 criminal charges, including felony murder.
If convicted of the murder charge, Rolfe could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Howard, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said prosecutors reviewed eight videos of the shooting and spoke with 10 witnesses and determined that Brooks "did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury" to the officers.
The district attorney said the officers failed to provide "timely" medical attention to Brooks for two minutes after he was shot and that Rolfe kicked Brooks as he was lying on the ground, "fighting for his life."
The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, faces three charges, including aggravated assault for standing or stepping on Brooks' shoulder after he was shot, Howard said.
Howard said Brosnan has agreed to become a cooperating witness for the state and testify against Rolfe, adding that prosecutors are recommending a bond of $50,000 in exchange for his cooperation. The district attorney said Brosnan is one of the first officers in Fulton County to testify against someone in his own department.
Brosnan's lawyer disputed this later Wednesday, saying that while Brosnan is cooperating with investigators, he has not agreed to testify or to plead guilty to any charge. In an interview with CNN, attorney Don Samuel disputed the aggravated assault charge, claiming that his client placed his foot on Brooks to make sure he "didn't have access to a weapon." Samuel also said Brosnan had fallen and suffered a concussion and wasn't initially aware that Brooks had been shot.
On Friday, June 12, Rolfe and Brosnan arrived at a Wendy's drive-thru around 10:30 p.m. because Brooks had fallen asleep in his vehicle. Police said Brooks failed a sobriety test and struggled with police when they tried to cuff him.
Brooks wrestled a Taser away from an officer, ran from the officers, and at one point, aimed the Taser at police before Rolfe fired his weapon, authorities said.
Brooks died after undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital. An autopsy from the county medical examiner said Brooks suffered two gunshot wounds to his back and listed his cause of death as a homicide. Rolfe was fired from the department and Brosnan was placed on administrative duty.
DA Howard appeared to claim that a taser is not a dangerous weapon.
However, just two weeks ago, Howard was caught on video claiming that a taser is a deadly weapon.
The flip-flop has led many to believe that this is a politically motivated charge.
The backlash is building.
Atlanta police decided to walk out on the job after the officer was charged with murder.
Decaturish reports widespread walkouts that left the city of Atlanta severely under-policed:
The head of Atlanta’s police union confirmed Wednesday that officers from the Atlanta Police Department in Zones 3 and 6 walked off the job Wednesday afternoon.
Vince Champion, southeast regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police officers, said that police officers had stopped answering calls midshift, in response to charges against Officer Garrett Rolfe who is accused of murdering Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
“The union, we would never advocate this. We wouldn’t advocate a blue flu,” Champion said. “We don’t know the numbers. Apparently we’re learning that command staff are asking outlying counties for support and aren’t getting it.”
Decaturish has calls out to public affairs officers in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties for confirmation.
A spokesperson for APD called reports of a walkout “inaccurate.”
“Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate,” the spokesperson said. “However, the department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call-outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents throughout the city.”
Zones 3 and 6 cover south Atlanta, where Rolfe killed Rayshard Brooks after a June 12 DUI arrest turned into an altercation. Rolfe fired three bullets at Brooks as he fled with a taser in hand. Video of the shooting suggests Brooks pointed the taser at officers as he fled.
A protest the next day descended into vandalism and the arson of the Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting occurred. Police and state fire officials have offered a reward for tips leading to the arrest and prosecution of the arsonists.
Champion accused Paul Howard, Fulton county’s district attorney, of lying about what is happening in a press conference earlier today when Howard suggested that officer Devin Brosnan had turned state’s evidence and is testifying.
“The attorney for the officer said that’s not true two minutes later, and said he’s not pleading guilty and not offering state’s evidence,” Champion said.
Other local media are seeing evidence of the walkout.
Observers note that local leadership would want to cover-up a walkout to avoid stoking fear among the public.
This would also prevent criminals from taking advantage of the situation.
However, multiple reports on the ground suggest that officers have called out to show their support for the officers involved in the Rayshard Brooks incident.