Garrett Rolfe’s attorneys say bond not violated by client’s trip to Florida

Rayshard Brooks talks with Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe in Wendy's parking lot before Rolfe shoots him in the back, killing him. Contributed
Rayshard Brooks talks with Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe in Wendy's parking lot before Rolfe shoots him in the back, killing him. Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

War of words continues between defense, DA

Garrett Rolfe’s recent visit to Daytona Beach was allowed under the terms of his bond, the former Atlanta police officer’s attorneys said in response to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s request that the bond be revoked.

“The State never requested that Garrett Rolfe be placed on house arrest/home confinement; nor did the State request that Mr. Rolfe be prohibited from travelling out of state,” the response, filed Thursday in Fulton Superior Court, states. “Instead, when asking this Court to impose conditions of bond, the State asked that Mr. Rolfe be subject to a curfew, which the Court ordered and which Mr. Rolfe has not violated.”

Curfew, legally defined, does not have the same meaning as home confinement, according to the response.

Rolfe, facing felony murder and other charges in the June 12 shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, was released on a $500,000 bond last month. Fulton Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick said she didn’t believe he was a flight risk and felt he posed no significant threat of committing a crime or intimidating witnesses.

In his motion asking the judge to consider revoking Rolfe’s bond, Howard said Rolfe, fired soon after Brooks’ death, is allowed to leave his metro Atlanta home only for medical appointments, meetings with attorneys or job-related issues.

“Thus, (the) Defendant has clearly shown that he will not abide by the conditions of bond imposed by the Court,” Howard’s motion states.

But the state did not petition the court to place Rolfe on house arrest or prohibit him from traveling out of state, say Rolfe’s attorneys, Noah Pines and William Thomas.

Howard “never asked this Court to confine Mr. Rolfe to his residence between 6:01 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.,” the response states. “Instead, the State only asked for a 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew.”

As interpreted by the defense, Rolfe is not required to observe the curfew at his home in Cobb County.

Barwick has yet to schedule a hearing on the state’s request.

Rolfe’s defense team said they notified Fulton prosecutors, via email, of Rolfe’s trip to Florida on Monday. But that night, according to the response, Cynthia Nwokocha, chief investigator for the Fulton DA, called Cobb police to request a “knock and talk” at Rolfe’s residence “because we don’t think he’s at home. We really think he’s out of the State of Georgia.”

Nwokocha, according to the defense response, told police they were tracking Rolfe’s ankle monitor “and it was showing he was in Florida.”

“Obviously, Ms. Nwokocha was aware that Mr. Rolfe was not at the residence since, hours earlier, we notified the District Attorney’s Office that he was in Florida,” Rolfe’s lawyers say. “Additionally, her statement is inconsistent with other statements she made to the Cobb County Police Department that her office was tracking Mr. Rolfe’s ankle monitor.”

“It is unknown how the District Attorney’s Office is tracking Mr. Rolfe’s ankle monitor,” the response states.

Longstanding tensions between Pines and Howard have only added to the tense atmosphere surrounding the case. Rolfe’s prosecution was cheered by social justice activists nationwide who viewed him as emblematic of police excessive force. Many of his fellow APD officers, saying he followed his training, walked off the job after the charges against him were announced.

Pines filed a motion last month seeking Howard’s recusal from the case, arguing the DA’s statements to the public had been “ethically inappropriate.”

Howard, in turn, has tried to make Pines’ campaign donations to Fani Willis, the six-term incumbent’s opponent in Tuesday’s hotly contested runoff election, an issue.