The city of Atlanta reinstated the police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks

·2 min read
garrett rolfe rayshard brooks
Garrett Rolfe, an Atlanta police officer, shot Rayshard Brooks on June 12 as Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, ran away in a Wendy's parking lot. Atlanta Police Department
  • An Atlanta police officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last year during an arrest.

  • The department fired Garrett Rolfe after the incident, citing "maltreatment or unnecessary force."

  • The city's service board ruled that his firing was unjustified, and he was reinstated on Wednesday.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last year was reinstated to his job on Wednesday.

One day after the shooting on June 12, the Atlanta Police Department dismissed Officer Garrett Rolfe after saying the shooting was "maltreatment or unnecessary force," a violation of the department's code. Following an appeal by Rolfe, the Atlanta Civil Service Board ruled that his firing was unjustified, and that the police department did not allow Rolfe his right to due process.

According to Atlanta's city code, an employee must receive a written notice of a proposed adverse action or punishment at least 10 days before the proposal goes into effect. In Rolfe's case, he received a phone call about his firing just one hour before Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced it in a press conference.

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Attorney Lance LoRusso, who represented Rolfe, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the decision doesn't mean the officer will return to service.

The Atlanta shooting occurred after authorities were notified about a man blocking the drive-thru lane of a restaurant with his car while asleep inside. Brooks' Breathalyzer test registered at .108 - greater than the legal limit of .08.

After initially cooperating with the arrest, Brooks can be seen on security-camera footage attacking one officer, taking his Taser, and then turning and firing it at Rolfe before running away. As Brooks fled the scene, Rolfe shot him several times, ultimately killing him.

Assistant Atlanta Police Chief Todd Coyt told the Civil Service Board during its hearing that Rolfe tried to diffuse the situation, and that the shooting was justified, city filings and The Washington Post said.

"The officers were trying to show compassion and they were not overly aggressive," Coyt said. "They tried to do everything they could to calm the situation down."

But some prosecutors alleged that Rolfe kicked Brooks' bleeding body and failed to administer aid for over two minutes.

City filings showed that Sgt. William Dean, a 25-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, said that Rolfe's dismissal from the force felt "rushed," and that he had never seen an officer in the APD terminated for a gun violation without investigations from the department.

Rolfe was charged with 11 counts stemming from the shooting, including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, violation of oath, and criminal damage to property. A trial date for Rolfe has not been set.

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