Former Atlanta police officer charged in Brooks killing seeks bond

Garrett Rolfe

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe should be released on bond because the evidence shows he was justified in using deadly force, said a motion filed by his attorneys on Monday.

Rolfe, 27, is charged with felony murder and 10 other offenses for the June 12 fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a south Atlanta Wendy's. He has remained in custody since turning himself in on June 19.

A bond hearing is scheduled for Rolfe on Tuesday before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick.

In their motion, attorneys Noah Pines and Bill Thomas said Rolfe is entitled to a reasonable bond. “He is a longstanding, law-abiding member of this community who will stay here to fight this case,” they said.

The motion also contended “there is significant evidence that proves he was legally justified in using deadly force in this case.” That’s because Rolfe was acting in self-defense, the motion said.

Attached to the bond motion was a “to whom it may concern” letter from Atlanta Police Department homicide detective Al Hogan, who arrived on the scene after the shooting. After returning to his office that night, Hogan said he was told Brooks was still alive at Grady Memorial Hospital but in critical condition.

Hogan said he reviewed audio and video evidence from the scene and interviews he had with witnesses. He said he determined several criminal charges should be brought against Brooks, including aggravated assault against a police officer, DUI, felony obstruction, robbery, and battery against a police officer.

“But before I was able to pursue the charges I was informed that Rayshard Brooks had died, negating the necessity for that portion of my investigation,” Hogan wrote.

Rolfe arrived at the scene after Officer Devin Brosnan, who’d responded to a 911 call, found Brooks asleep in his car at the Wendy’s drive-thru. Rolfe, a certified DUI officer, talked with Brooks before having him undergo field sobriety and breath tests.

The first 29 minutes don’t prepare you for the all-too-familiar tragedy that follows: a white police officer, a black male victim, lethal gunshots and questions about whether any of it was justified. It happened again in Atlanta Friday night, when Officer Garrett Rolfe fired three times at a fleeing Rayshard Brooks. Both men, 27 years old. The shooting would set off a stunning chain of events, culminating in the resignation early Saturday night by Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. (Video edited by Ryon Horne, Christian Boone)

Brooks, who was serving a sentence on probation through 2026, had been mostly calm and friendly throughout his interactions with the two officers. But he suddenly tried to flee after Rolfe told him, “I think you’ve had too much to drink to be driving. Put your hands behind your back for me.”

Brooks and the two officers then fell to the pavement. During the struggle, Brooks took Brosnan’s Taser and tried to fire it at the officer’s head, but Brosnan deflected it with his hand.

Brooks then ran through the parking lot with Rolfe chasing him. After Brooks turned back, pointed Brosnan’s Taser at Rolfe and pulled the trigger, Rolfe pulled out his handgun and fired three shots. Two hit Brooks in the back.

At his press conference announcing the charges, District Attorney Paul Howard said Rolfe should not have shot Brooks because Brooks posed no threat to the officer. Even though Rolfe had just been engaged in a frantic melee, he should have known Brosnan's Taser had already shot its only two electrical probes, the DA said.

Howard also said that after Rolfe shot Brooks, Rolfe then kicked Brooks after the 27-year-old suspect had collapsed to the pavement.

In the bond motion, Pines and Thomas said Rolfe was justified in using deadly force if he had probable cause that Brooks had committed a crime involving the “infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.”

That happened in the parking lot, the motion said. “In his struggle to evade arrest and revocation 0f his probation, Mr. Brooks concussed Officer Brosnan, stole his Taser, shot him with the Taser, fled with the Taser and then pointed and fired the Taser at Officer Rolfe.”

Brosnan, who is charged with aggravated assault for putting his foot on Brooks as he lay on the ground, has been released on a $50,000 signature bond.

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