Rayshard Brooks

June 12, 2020

On the evening of June 12, 2020, an Atlanta police officer, Garrett Rolfe, shot to death Rayshard Brooks (1993–2020) in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant parking lot. Rayshard had fallen asleep in his car, which was parked in the drive-through lane at the restaurant, so restaurant employees called the police. In body cam video, Officer Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan have a thirty-minutes cordial conversation with Rayshard, in which he says he has no weapons and admits to the two officers to having a few drinks to celebrate his daughter's birthday. After the officers pat him down and find no weapons, they administer a sobriety test, which he fails, and then attempt to handcuff him. A struggle ensues. Rayshard steals the officer's Taser and runs. He turns and points the Taser at the officer and the officer shoots him three times with his service weapon, says "I got him," and kicks him as he lay injured on the ground. He also fails to give him timely first aid. After having surgery at a nearby hospital, Rayshard died. Following an autopsy, the Fulton County medical examiner determined that Rayshard died from two gunshot wounds to the back, resulting in organ injuries and blood loss. He concluded the manner of death was a homicide.

In less than 24 hours after the shooting, Rolfe was fired and Atlanta's chief of police resigned. Brosnan was placed on administrative duty. On June 17, 2020, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office filed eleven charges against Rolfe, which included felony murder, and charged Brosnan with aggravated assault for standing on Rayshard in the parking lot.

Rayshard was the father of four children and had celebrated a daughter's eighth birthday the day he was killed. His wife of eight years, Tomika Miller, called for the two police officers to go to jail, saying she never imagined she would be in the same situation as George Floyd's family.

In a February 2020 video interview with Reconnect, a company that fights incarceration, Rayshard talked about seeking redemption after his one-year incarceration for false imprisonment and financial credit card fraud. He wanted the criminal justice system to help him get out from under the rock of a prison record, which kept him from getting a job to support his family. He wanted a mentor, someone who could "help keep you in the direction you need to be going." Yet he still hoped for a better life, as reflected in these words from the interview: "I'm tryin', you know, I'm not the type of person to give up. You know, and I'm gonna keep going until I make it to where I want to be."

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