A former white police officer was charged with murder on Wednesday, five days after he shot and killed a young black man, Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, in a drama that rekindled anti-racism anger in the United States.
Eleven counts have been brought against Garrett Rolfe, 27, including “murder,” punishable by death in Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a press conference.
“We concluded that at the time of his death, Mr. Brooks did not represent an immediate threat of death or serious injury to the officers”, justified the prosecutor.
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Video revealed that the police kicked his victim when he was on the ground. This “does not reflect a feeling of fear towards Mr. Brooks, but a different kind of emotion,” commented Paul Howard.
Another police officer present at the time of the fatal arrest, Devin Brosnan, was charged with assault and violating his swearing-in, in particular because he stood on the injured. He agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Arrest warrants were issued for the two men, to whom the prosecutor gave a day to surrender.
On Friday evening, employees of a fast-food restaurant called the police because a person asleep at the wheel of his car was blocking access to the drive-in.
Upon arrival, officers found Rayshard Brooks, 27, intoxicated.
The young man was “cordial, calm, cooperative,” said the prosecutor. The situation escalated when the agents wanted to arrest him.
In footage of the drama, he is seen grabbing the Taser gun from one of the police officers and fleeing. Agent Rolfe then opened fire.
According to the official autopsy, Rayshard Brooks died of homicide after being shot twice in the back.
Garrett Rolfe was immediately fired from the police and his colleague assigned to administrative duties.
But the drama has rekindled anger in the United States since the death of George Floyd, an African-American suffocated by a white Minneapolis policeman on May 25.