ATLANTA, GA – The shooting of Rayshard Brooks was controversial at the time it occurred, and continues to be now. But, now a former neighbor of the primary officer involved in the officer involved shooting (OIS) is defending Officer Rolfe.
It is noted that in the source article mentioned below, the officer isn’t described as a police officer – instead, he’s just described as a “white man.” With that being said, there are always two sides to every story.
Channel 2 in Atlanta, via News Break, explains the story. To recap, Rayshard Brooks was in his vehicle in the drive-thru lane at a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta and had fallen asleep. When restaurant personnel couldn’t wake him up, the police were called.
It was apparent to police officers that Brooks had been drinking, so they initiated a field sobriety test. In the minutes thereafter, a struggle ensued and Brooks gained control of Officer Rolfe’s taser.
As Brooks escaped from the officer’s control and fled, he pointed the taser at Rolfe and his partner and fired the weapon. Brooks was then shot and died from his injuries.
The one thing I’m not going to do is front like that brother didn’t cause his own death. It’s sad that it happened and I’m sure may ppl are upset We have to be real if you had a gun cop or not & someone pointed any weapon at you you are shooting. pic.twitter.com/CKqAnuWC7O
— 🇺🇸 Antoine Tucker for Congress NY-14 (@montaga) June 16, 2020
Since the altercation and resulting death of Rayshard Brooks, Officer Rolfe was fired from the Atlanta Police Department and murder charges were filed by a controversial district attorney. That DA has since been voted out of office, but the charges against the officer remain.
It has been widely reported that Brooks served time for domestic violence, and had, in fact, assaulted his girlfriend that day. He was on probation with an active warrant for the assault. We can only assume that not going back to prison was his primary motivator for fighting the police, instead of cooperating with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) test and possible arrest.
A former neighbor of Rolfe, an African-American entrepreneur, sent a message via Twitter to Atlanta’s Channel 2 news and asked to be interviewed. He wanted to speak about his former neighbor but wanted to remain anonymous.
In the Channel 2 news report, the man explained:
“…What happened was tragic. I’m not going to sit here and say it wasn’t, but it’s definitely not racially motivated. It had nothing to do with race.
“I’ve probably watched that bodycam probably close to 40 different times. I still can’t wrap my mind around. We lived two doors down from him.”
He decided to speak out because he was disturbed by how his friend and police officer was being portrayed on social media.
Former neighbor defends officer charged with shooting Rayshard Brooks https://t.co/eQJkIoQLZa
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 23, 2020
He went on to say:
“I just hate the whole fact that he’s being hung out to dry. Some racist police officer that didn’t shoot in self-defense…
“He was one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I think people are ready to jump to conclusions without finding out the facts and being put in the situation, especially with everything going on with the police right now…”
Rolfe’s attorneys made this statement:
“We are not surprised by the statements of Garrett’s former neighbor as everyone we’ve interviewed has said positive things about him.
“Both personally and professionally, Garrett lives his life with honor and treats others with respect.
“Garrett worked with a diverse group of officers within the City of Atlanta Police Department and at the time of the incident he was in the process of attempting to buy a home through the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Secure Neighborhoods program so that he could enhance his engagement with the citizens of the City of Atlanta that he served.
“Garrett’s actions on June 12, 2020 were legally justified and we expect that he will be fully exonerated.”
According to the Daily Caller, former officer Rolfe is now suing the mayor and interim police chief alleging he was unlawfully terminated and that his Constitutional rights were violated.
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Atlanta threatened with lawsuit in death of little Secoriea Turner
October 21, 2020
ATLANTA, GA – The devastating impacts of the Rayshard Brooks shooting are still dropping, as the most recent development includes a proposed lawsuit on behalf of the family of Secoriea Turner, the eight-year-old girl killed in a shooting on July 4.
The lawsuit takes aim at the City of Atlanta for $16 million in damages. The suit alleges $12 million in punitive damages and $4 million in physical damages.
Rayshard Brooks’ shooting during a police encounter is still controversial and resulted in one officer terminated form the force and facing murder charges, his step-mother fired from her position at work, and the shooting led to an occupation of the area surrounding the Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting occurred.
You probably don’t know her name—because she was killed by a black man and not a white police officer. RT Family of Secoriea Turner suing City of Atlanta for $12 million https://t.co/9TMsi8QNq5
— Darrell B. Harrison (@D_B_Harrison) October 19, 2020
Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru lane at Wendy’s and when restaurant personnel couldn’t wake him, the police were notified.
In the aftermath of the officer-involved-shooting, the restaurant was torched in an act of social justice, and armed people set up roadblocks around the area to occupy it in protest.
It’s that last factor that is the cornerstone of the proposed lawsuit: the attorney for the Turner family attests that the city knew the area was occupied by armed protestors or agitators and failed to make the area safe for citizens.
Family of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner filing lawsuit against the City of Atlanta https://t.co/9ORZuzrW9L
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) October 19, 2020
The Brooks shooting occurred on June 12 and eight-year-old Secoriea was shot and killed on July 4 as a car driven by a family member ended up too close to the armed agitators.
It’s reported that the driver of the vehicle attempted to turn around after approaching makeshift barricades. Armed protesters fired into the car, killing the little girl.
Turner family attorney Mawuli Davis commented:
“[The City of Atlanta] knew that University Avenue was being occupied and at times barricaded by armed men.
“[The City] allowed the city block to become lawless, violent, and dangerous, which lead directly to the death of Secoriea Turner.”
Justice for 8 year old Secoriea Turner. She was tragically killed by BLM protestors who’ve yet to turn themselves in. Rest In Peace princess ❤️ https://t.co/rJJq0z3Ucv
— I only care about Black Women (@Adriana83271362) September 8, 2020
Davis has made the family’s position clear: the city settles with the family or faces a lawsuit.
Secoriea’s shooter was identified as Julian Conley. Conley was taken into custody and was denied bail at arraignment.
Secoriea’s funeral service brought together large groups of family, friends, and community members, and was lived-streamed in a broadcast by the New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta.
A statement from the family read:
“Mayor Bottoms and other city leaders were aware that there had been multiple shootings and assaults in the University Avenue area and that armed persons staffing the makeshift barricade were responsible for most of those acts of violence.
“Mayor Bottoms and the City officials turned a blind eye and allowed lawlessness, vigilantism, and violence to erode and disrupt the area surrounding the Wendy’s at 125 University Ave.
“Instead, City officials failed to protect their community, and it was their blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of the City’s inhabitants that led to the shooting death of Secoriea, which was foreseeable and avoidable.”
Secoriea Turner was an 8 year old black girl that got shot and killed on the fourth of july during a BLM protest for rayshard brooks. why is NOBODY talking about this? why did i only hear this now? i thought black lives mattered? then why is nobody condemning this? pic.twitter.com/6zjKirvMvt
— b (@bougielikeb) September 9, 2020
In the lawsuit, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant and Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd were also named.
Atlanta Mayor Bottoms gave a statement at a press conference at the time of Secoriea’s shooting:
“We have talked about this movement (BLM) that is happening across America at this moment in time when we have the ears and the interest of people across this country and across this globe who are saying they want to see change.
“We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up in our streets.
“An eight-year-old girl was killed last night because her mother was riding down the street. If Secoriea was not safe last night, none of us are safe.”
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