The Atlanta police officer who was fired after fatally shooting a Black man in a Wendy's parking lot last year has been reinstated by Atlanta's Civil Service Board.
Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old husband, father and stepfather, was running away when he was shot by officer Garrett Rolfe on June 12, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said at the time.
Rolfe, a seven-year veteran of the department, was fired and charged with felony murder.
Rolfe appealed his firing and Atlanta's Civil Service Board ruled on Wednesday that "due to the City's failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses' testimony," Rolfe "was not afforded his right to due process."
Lance LoRusso, who represented Rolfe in his appeal, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that Rolfe will "essentially be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the charges."
The Board noted that Rolfe did not receive a 10-day notice of his termination, which took effect June 14.
According to the city's code, "An employee against whom an adverse action is to be taken shall be given a written notice of proposed adverse action, signed by the appointing authority or designee, at least ten working days prior to the effective date of the proposed adverse action."
The Civil Service Board found that the city's actions "were not compliant with the ten days prior notice period as required by the Code," as a notice of proposed adverse action and notice of final adverse action were issued to his union representative on June 13.
Brooks was killed on June 12 after a Wendy's employee called police to complain that he was passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle in the drive-thru lane, according to police.
The first officer to arrive to the scene, Devin Brosnan, knocked on Brooks' window but couldn't wake him up. Body camera video showed Brosnan opening the door and shaking Brooks awake.
Rolfe responded to the scene when Brosnan radioed a dispatcher saying he needed a DUI-certified officer.
When officers tried to put Brooks in handcuffs, Brooks struggled, wrestled with both officers on the ground, and then grabbed Brosnan's stun gun.
Surveillance video of the incident showed Brooks running through the parking lot as the officers chased after him. While fleeing, Brooks allegedly shot the stun gun at Rolfe, who drew his weapon and opened fire. Brooks died from two gunshots to his back, the medical examiner determined.
Brooks' death was two weeks after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked national protests, including in Atlanta.