Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said that the officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last week may face a felony murder charge.
Brooks died Friday night after being fatally shot by a white police officer during a scuffle in an Atlanta fast-food parking lot. The officer shot Brooks in the back twice as the 27-year-old fled on foot with a taser he wrestled from Brooks’ partner Devin Brosnan.
Garrett Rolfe, the officer involved in the shooting, was fired, while officer Devin Brosnan was placed on administrative leave.
“There are really three charges that are relevant: One would be the murder charge in the state of Georgia. That charge is a charge that is directly related to an intent to kill,” he told Whitfield. “The second charge is felony murder and that is a charge that involves a death that comes as a result of the commission of an underlying felony. In this case, that underlying felony would be aggravated assault.”
Howard said voluntary manslaughter also remains a possible charge, though he said the charges, set to be presented midweek, would likely be “between murder and felony murder.”
Howard said based on video from the night of the shooting, the fact that the situation escalated and resulted in death “just seems unreasonable.”
“It’s very difficult when you see [the footage], when you see the demeanor of Mr. Brooks to imagine that some short time later, it ends up with him being dead,” said Howard. “I thought it was cordial. He was very cooperative. He answered the questions that the officers asked. He did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone. And so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable.”
“It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident the should have led to someone’s death.” Howard added.
Howard said that his office would need to decide whether Brooks “presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury” during his interaction with police.
“If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law.”
The Fulton County medical examiner’s office ruled on Sunday that Brooks died from “gunshot wounds of the back,” which caused “organ injuries and blood loss.”
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