2 Atlanta police officers won't face any charges in Rayshard Brooks shooting
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Charges are being dismissed against two Atlanta police officers involved in the deadly shooting of a Black man outside a fast food restaurant in 2020. Rahul Bali from member station WABE takes a closer look at the decision in the death of Rayshard Brooks.
RAHUL BALI, BYLINE: Atlanta police officers were first called out to the Wendy's for someone who had fallen asleep in their car while in the drive-through line. Officers Devin Brosnan and, eventually, Garrett Rolfe responded, engaging in a calm, 40-minute conversation. When officers tried to arrest Brooks for DUI, that's when things turned deadly. Special Prosecutor Pete Skandalakis.
PETE SKANDALAKIS: Officers had no way of knowing or anticipating that within seconds of this encounter, both would be attacked by Brooks and that Brooks would overpower them, take the taser from one of them, fire the stolen taser at both of them and then attempt to escape while continuing to fire the taser at the pursuing officer.
BALI: That's when Officer Rolfe opened fire, hitting Brooks twice. On Tuesday, Skandalakis and his co-counsel, Danny Porter, spent more than an hour explaining the decision during a press conference, which included showing still images from multiple videos of the events leading up to the deadly shooting. Porter addressed questions about Brooks being hit in the back while running away.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DANIEL PORTER: In this case, Officer Rolfe's first shot was fired while Brooks was still aiming the taser at him. All three shots were fired in approximately 0.56 seconds.
BALI: L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Rayshard Brooks' family, takes issue with deadly force being used as Brooks ran away instead of when officers were physically struggling with Brooks.
L CHRIS STEWART: They didn't know if he was reaching for a gun or whatever. They could have used deadly force. And I would have backed any officer that did it. But they did not. They did not. They chose not to when they were justified. But they decided to use lethal force as a man was running away 19 feet away.
BALI: On a larger level, Stewart says the issue is that a jury or grand jury never got to consider the case.
STEWART: All we're asking is that the community resolves these situations when it's a close call and it goes to a grand jury, letting the people decide.
BALI: Stewart says the path now is a civil suit against the city of Atlanta.
For NPR News, I'm Rahul Bali in Atlanta.
(SOUNDBITE OF KAMASI WASHINGTON'S "SEVEN PRAYERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.