Rayshard Brooks’ family pleads for justice, change

Tyler Perry will take care of funeral expenses

Members of Rayshard Brooks’ heartbroken family are speaking out in his memory, determined that the tragedy of his death spark positive change.

“One of our biggest fears became a reality,” said his niece, Chassidy Evans. “Blessing, Memory and Dream will never get to see their father again.”

PHOTOS: Family asks for justice, change

Brooks, 27, died after a struggle with Atlanta police officers Friday night. A 911 call summoned officers to a Wendy's. Video released by the Atlanta Police Department showed officers talking with Brooks for nearly half an hour. The struggle ensued when they tried to handcuff him and he was able to grab a Taser.

“Rayshard has a family who loves him, who would have gladly come and got him so he could be here with us today,” Evans said. “Not only are we hurt, we are angry. When does it stop? We are not only pleading for justice, we are pleading for change.”

061520 Atlanta: Tomika Miller, the wife of Rayshard Brooks, holds their daughter Memory, 2, gently kissing her hand during the family press conference on Monday, June 15, 2020, in Atlanta. Brooks was killed by an APD officer Friday.  Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

She and other loved ones addressed reporters during a Monday news conference at the office of Brooks’ legal team. His daughters Blessing, 8, Memory, 2 and Dream, 1 and stepson Mekai, 13, attended along with their mother and a host of other relatives.

“This entire situation has traumatized me and my entire family,” Evans said. “My uncle did not die in vain. His life mattered.”

Brooks’ cousin, Tiara Brooks, urged action.

“We must all agree to one fact: he was killed by the Atlanta Police Department,” she said. “The trust that we have with the police force is broken. The only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change with the police department.”

During a Saturday evening news conference, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields had stepped aside. 

Attorneys announced Atlanta entertainer Tyler Perry will take care of funeral expenses.

Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, thanked the community for supporting the family.

“Even though I can’t bring my husband back I know he’s smiling because his name will forever be remembered,” she said. “I can never get my husband back. I can never tell my daughter, he’s coming to take you skating or to swimming lessons. It’s going to be a long time before I heal.”

Miller did ask demonstrators, “If you could keep it as a peaceful protest, that would be wonderful. We want to keep his name positive and great.”

The event concluded as family members dissolved into tears.