The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot faced disciplinary action in 2016 for a use-of-force incident involving a firearm, according to department records.
Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after the Brooks shooting, was reprimanded in the September 2016 firearms incident, according to records from the Atlanta Police Department shared with NBC News. No other details were provided.
Rolfe, who was hired by the department in 2013, also has four citizen complaints on his record, none of which resulted in disciplinary action. Of five vehicular accidents that records show he was involved in, one resulted in an oral admonishment and one a written reprimand. The rest had no disciplinary action.
Rolfe’s record also shows one additional use of firearms incident, in 2015, without note of any disciplinary action.
Brooks, 27, a Black man, was shot twice in the back on Friday night, and the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.
Police had been called to the Wendy’s on a report of a man sleeping in his car in the drive-thru.
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Brooks struggled with the officers after they administered a field sobriety test and tried to take him into custody. Surveillance video appears to show Brooks running away from the officers with a stun gun that he’d taken from one of them, Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said.
While running, Brooks appeared to turn around and point the weapon at police, he said.
“At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr. Brooks there on the parking lot, and he goes down,” Reynolds said.
Neither Rolfe nor a second officer involved in the incident, Devin Brosnan, have been charged.
Fulton County District Attorney, Paul L. Howard has said that he will announce this week whether charges would be brought. “The question that we have to decide is at that precise moment whether or not Mr. Brooks was in the position to cause imminent bodily harm to that officer or some other member of the public,” Howard told NBC News on Monday.
Brosnan, who had no disciplinary record, was hired June 13, 2019, almost a year to the date of Brooks’ shooting. He has been placed on administrative leave.
Vince Champion, the southeast regional director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers who is speaking on the officers’ behalf, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
On Monday, Champion said: “To allude to the fact for people to look at the video and say the officer just shot him in the back, I think that’s improper to make that decision right at this point. Again, that’s why you have investigations.”
The killing renewed protests in Atlanta that began weeks ago with the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25.
Brooks’ family attorney L. Chris Stewart said there was no reason for the use of deadly force on a man who was running away from officers. “That man’s life should not have been taken so callously simply for running away with a nonlethal weapon,” he said.
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Two law enforcement experts told NBC News that the shooting was not justified, although a police union president outside Atlanta called the use of deadly force “legitimate.”
Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after the shooting, saying in a statement, “It is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
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