Atlanta police officer Devin Brosnan, charged with aggravated assault in the death of Rayshard Brooks, called the shooting a “tragic event,” but denied claims from Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard that he was testifying against his former partner Garrett Rolfe.
“I have full faith in the criminal justice system,” Brosnan said in a Thursday appearance on MSNBC with his attorney Don Samuel. “I’m looking forward to cooperating with any investigators who are interested in having a conversation about what happened that night.”
In a Wednesday press conference, Howard claimed that Brosnan would testify as a “state’s witness” against Rolfe, who had been charged with felony murder for shooting Brooks in the back as he attempted to escape arrest while brandishing a taser.
But Samuel denied Howard’s claim. “There seems to be some misunderstanding on the prosecutor’s part . . . he’s not a ‘state’s witness,’ he’s not a defense witness, he’s a witness,” Samuel said. “He’s not cooperating against anybody. He’s going to provide accurate information about what happened.” Samuel added that Brosnan “certainly rendered aid as fast as he could” to Brooks, despite Howard saying the police did not “provide timely medical attention to Mr. Brooks.”
Brosnan also challenged a claim made by Howard that, after Brooks had been shot, Rolfe kicked him, saying he never saw such a moment. In a message to Brooks’s family, he stated that it was a “total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night.”
“For my initial encounter with him, I felt he was friendly. He was respectful. I was respectful to him and I felt that this seemed like someone who potentially needed my help,” Brosnan said. “I was really just there to see what I could do for him and make sure he was safe.”
Brosnan and Rolfe were called to the scene of an Atlanta Wendy’s last week and found Brooks asleep in his car, which was blocking the drive-thru. The officers attempted to arrest Brooks following a sobriety test that showed Brooks was drunk, but Brooks tried to escape.
Atlanta police officers have protested the charges against Brosnan and Rolfe — who faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms admitted that police morale “is down ten-fold.”
“There’s a lot happening in our city, and the police officers are receiving the brunt of it quite frankly,” she told CNN.