Atlanta cop who fatally shot Black man sleeping in his car is one step closer to returning to work

Atlanta, Georgia – Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was "wrongly terminated" after he fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in June 2020, the city's Civil Service Board determined.

Body camera footage showed Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe (l.) shooting Rayshard Brooks (†27) twice in the back.
Body camera footage showed Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe (l.) shooting Rayshard Brooks (†27) twice in the back.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Garrett Rolfe has been charged after shooting a Black man named Rayshard Brooks (†27) in a Wendy's parking lot – just two weeks after convicted cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis. Brooks had been sleeping in his car in the drive-thru lane when officers approached him.

They tried to handcuff him after he failed a Breathalyzer test. That's when Brooks grabbed one of the officers' tasers and tried to run away.

Rolfe shot him twice in the back as he fled.

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The ex-cop now faces 11 charges, including felony murder. However, the trial plans have stalled, as the newly elected Fulton County District Attorney has said she doesn't believe it would be proper for her to take on the case.

In an executive action, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for Rolfe's firing the day after the fatal incident, expressing hope that the quick response would provide "some comfort" to Brooks' loved ones. It was precisely this move that the ex-cop's defense honed in on in recent hearings, CNN reported.

Now, the Atlanta Civil Service Board has announced that they voted to reinstate Rolfe based on procedural issues during his termination.

The Atlanta Police Department (APD) has stated that Rolfe "will remain on administrative leave" until a verdict on his charges is reached.

Rayshard Brooks' family is devastated by the decision

Garrett Rolfe may return to work "pretty soon," his lawyer said.
Garrett Rolfe may return to work "pretty soon," his lawyer said.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The Atlanta mayor has defended her decision in the aftermath of the shooting, saying, "Given the volatile state of our city and nation last summer, the decision to terminate this officer, after he fatally shot Mr. Brooks in the back, was the right thing to do."

"Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse," she continued

L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks' family, questioned the Civil Service Board's ruling: "We find it mind-boggling that our elected officials and the former chief weren't aware of the proper procedure to fire an officer. So now it is questions of, 'Was that done to temporarily pacify the protesters and the people around the world that were upset?'"

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"It appears that Rayshard Brooks' life didn't really matter and that the world has moved on," he lamented.

Another of the family's attorneys, Justin Miller, said, "You have a person who is going to stand trial for murder who is now back on the force and able to do the same things he was doing before."

When asked about Rolfe returning to work, the cop's attorney said, "It will take a little bit of time. I imagine it will be pretty soon though."

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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