ATLANTA (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ruled that the former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks can be free on bond while his case is pending.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick set a bond of $500,000 for Garrett Rolfe, who faces charges including felony murder in the killing of Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man. The shooting by the white officer happened against the backdrop of demonstrations nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism after George Floyd died under a Minneapolis officer’s knee.
Rolfe and his attorneys were not present inside the courtroom but were instead connected via teleconference.
Police body cameras showed Rolfe and another officer having a calm and respectful conversation with Brooks for more than 40 minutes after complaints that Brooks had fallen asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane on June 12.
But when officers told him he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted. A struggle was caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fled, firing the Taser at Rolfe as he ran away.
An autopsy found Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Prior to the judge’s bond ruling on Tuesday, one of Rolfe’s attorneys, Noah Pines, denied the district attorney’s accusations that Rolfe kicked Brooks after shooting him and shouted “I got him!” Pines called on Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to release video of the alleged kick.
Executive Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker said video footage shows Rolfe’s kick and a witness has confirmed that it happened.
Rolfe was fired shortly after the shooting and the other officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on desk duty. The police chief stepped down less than 24 hours after the shooting.
Rolfe, 27, now faces 11 charges in all. Felony murder is punishable by a minimum sentence of life in prison. Brosnan, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.
Lawyers for both men have said their actions were justified.
Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow, sobbed as she read a statement to the judge via teleconference.
“My life has completely turned upside down since this happened,” she said. “It’s just been so hard dealing with everything. … He had so much to live for.”