Rayshard Brooks death: First cop to respond to 911 call wanted to let him go and woke him up twice, shows video
Brooks was shot dead by a police officer in the parking lot of Wendy's shortly after he failed a sobriety test
The first officer to respond to the 911 call made on the day of Rayshard Brooks' death reportedly considered letting go of the incident. However, the officer decided to check on him one more time and found him sleeping at the wheel, reports state.
Brooks was shot dead on Friday, June 12, in the parking lot of Wendy's in University Avenue, 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.
An autopsy released on Sunday, June 14, declared his death a homicide, showing he suffered gunshot wounds to the back. Brosnan was the first to arrive at the scene on June 12. Another bodycam footage released by the Atlanta Police Department revealed that Brosnan was close to letting the incident slide as he can be heard asking himself: "Do I want to deal with this dude right now?" before getting out of his patrol car.
Brosnan, before getting out of his car, had already approached Brooks twice, waking him, and asking him to pull his car from the lane. The bodycam footage released was of the first few minutes of the call-out.
After Brosnan woke Brooks the first time, he returned to his car waiting only to find Brooks falling asleep again. Brosnan later told Officer Rolfe that he could smell alcohol in the 27-year-old's breath. Brosnan then watched Brooks overshooting the parking space into which he pulled. The officer then returned to his patrol car and asked himself: "Do I want to deal with this dude right now?" A minute later he walked over to Brooke's car, looked in the window, and saw him sleeping again. Brosnan got back into his car and hesitated for at least two minutes before sighing and decided to check on Brooks again.
He asked: "Hey man, are you good? Because you were passed out before. I just want to check you’re okay. Why did you fall asleep?" To which Brooks responded incoherently, saying: "I was doing about fifty." The officer then asked Brooks: "How much have you had to drink tonight?"
You can watch the video here:
Officer Rolfe arrived in the middle of the stop as Brooks made conflicting statements regarding his alcohol consumption. 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.
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, particularly in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in police custody.
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.