Rayshard Brooks death ruled homicide after autopsy reveals he was shot twice in the back by a white cop
The District Attorney said officer Rolfe shouted 'I got him' after firing the shots, so it was not in self-defense
Rayshard Brooks' autopsy results released on Sunday, June 14, declared his death a homicide, showing he suffered gunshot wounds to the back. The results stated that the 27-year-old black man died of two gunshot wounds, which resulted in organ damage and blood loss.
Brooks was shot dead on Friday, June 12, in the parking lot of Wendy's in Atlanta, shortly after he failed a sobriety test. The 27-year-old wrestled with the officers attempting to detain him, stole a taser from them, and began running when former Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe fired shots at him. Rolfe, 27, has been fired from the department and could face murder charges in the case. Another officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Brooks family's attorneys, Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, slammed the police after witnesses to the incident revealed that the officers paused to pick up shell casings from the ground before attending to the wounded 27-year-old. Stewart, at a press conference, said: "We talked to some witnesses today who said that the officers went and put on plastic gloves and picked up their shell casings after they killed him, before rendering aid. We counted two minutes and 16 seconds before they even checked his pulse. And people wonder why everyone's mad." Surveillance video taken from Wendy's parking lot of the incident was posted on social media and has gone viral, sparking widespread outrage.
"Just watch the video as he lays there dying, the officers stand around. One kicks him and flips him over," the lawyer said. "And then the witnesses tell us that, which we can’t see on camera, but they filmed it. They went and picked up the shell casings. I wonder why. 'So that all of you can't know how far away he was when they shot. So that you can't find their positions when they use that weapon.' Stewart added that he and Miller approved of Rolfe's firing and that he 'should also be prosecuted." Stewart also called for the second officer, Brosnan, to be charged in the case.
The District Attorney for Fulton County in Georgia, Paul Howard, also released a statement, saying that it would be difficult to argue that Rolfe responded in self-defense because he shouted "I got him" after firing the shots.
"There's one good thing about video," Howard said, referring to surveillance camera footage. "Because in the video we actually get a chance to hear the officer's first statement after the shooting took place. And what the officer said is not that his life was saved. What his statement was, he said: 'I got him.'"
The two officers had been called to the scene outside a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta after Brooks, a father-of-four, was reported to have fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through lane and people had to resort to driving around him. The trio was filmed in a police body camera having a polite conversation where Brooks admitted that he had been drinking and it was his daughter's birthday. He told the officers that he would walk home and not drive his car. However, after he failed a sobriety test, the cops attempted to arrest him and he began to resist and engaged in a scuffle with the officers.
When the officers threatened to tase him, he took one of their tasers before attempting to flee the scene and pointing the taser at Rolfe. As Brooks was running, Rolfe shot at him and the two officers were seen scrambling around before getting to him. It was not unclear what the officers were doing before attending to Brooks, but his attorneys have said that they did not try to save their client's life and just allowed him to lie on the ground dying.
Stewart has claimed that the officers were more concerned about "covering their tracks than providing immediate assistance to the wounded Brooks. Aid that could have saved his life if allegedly he was taken to the hospital and died in surgery, but they didn't give that to him."
The 27-year-old had reportedly been celebrating his eight-year-old daughter's birthday before he was gunned down. Brooks reportedly took the little girl to get her nails done and later for something to eat. The pair were set to continue their celebration on Saturday, June 13.