Atlanta City Council votes to pay $1 million to Rayshard Brooks’ widow

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to pay $1 million to the widow of Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer two years ago.

Officer Garrett Rolfe fatally shot Brooks, 27, on June 12, 2020, following a struggle that erupted as Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan tried to arrest Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The shooting sparked protests at the restaurant, which was destroyed by fire the following day.

Rolfe was fired a day after the shooting, and then-police chief Erika Shields resigned from the department as well. Five days after the shooting, former Fulton County DA Paul Howard announced criminal charges against both officers — a decision that was reversed by a special prosecutor in August.

On Monday, the city council emerged from a 20-minute, closed-door executive session and immediately voted to settle the case. The vote was unanimous.

“The city attorney has done an extensive review of the facts on the law and has determined that the city of Atlanta’s potential financial exposure in defending plaintiff’s claims is in excess of the settlement amount,” said Councilman Dustin Hillis.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Hillis said the funds will be paid to Tomika Miller, the Brooks estate, and the Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys firm. Doing so will effectively dismiss the lawsuit against the city, Hillis said.

In June, Rolfe and Brosnan also filed two separate federal lawsuits against the city, Fulton County, former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former DA Paul Howard.

Former Fulton County Assistant DA Clint Rucker and Donald Hannah, a former criminal investigator for the DA’s office, are also named in the officers’ suits. Shields is a defendant only in Rolfe’s lawsuit.

Brooks’ family attorneys L. Chris Stewart, Justin Miller, Dianna Lee, Brian Spears, Jeff Filipotis and Wingo Smith issued a statement Monday afternoon:

“This grieving family has been through so much during this process. Although the children of Mr. Brooks have lost their father, settling the case will undoubtedly assist them with future plans as they come of age.

“While we are disappointed that prosecutors didn’t pursue a criminal case against the officers involved in Mr. Brooks’ death, we continue to hold out hope that the Dept. of Justice will intervene in this matter. We look forward to the city of Atlanta continuing to work hard to build a bridge between law enforcement and members of our community.”