Prosecutor says Brooks’ killing was not ‘racially motivated’

The special prosecutor appointed to look into the 2020 death of Rayshard Brooks at the hands of two Atlanta police officers does not believe the shooting was racially motivated.

Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said the facts of the case showed that officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan were objectively reasonable in using deadly force against Brooks, who was killed June 12, 2020, in the parking lot of a south Atlanta Wendy’s.

“Let’s just say if this was two Black officers chasing a white suspect, and the same facts happened, I would have the same findings,” Skandalakis said Tuesday at a news conference announcing his decision not to prosecute the officers. “The facts are the facts. I don’t change the facts based upon the color of a person’s skin, and I won’t change the facts based upon the color of a person’s skin. I do not think this shooting was racially motivated.”

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

The veteran prosecutor added that it was important to understand the context surrounding Brooks’ shooting, which came at a time of civil unrest following the high-profile deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Brooks’ death was unlike those cases, Skandalakis said.

“Black lives do matter,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire career representing Black victims of crime. I understand that the encounters between police and the African American community at times are very volatile. But I would ask them to look at the facts of this case, and this isn’t one of those cases.

“This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt, and unfortunately by his actions, this is what happened,” Skandalakis continued.