GBI report suggests far-left DA may have lied so he could charge Officer Rolfe With murder of Rayshard Brooks

ATLANTA, GA – Details available from a Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) probe into the officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks run counter to claims made by now-former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard in his charging of Officer Garrett Rolfe with murder.

As Law Enforcement Today previously reported, on June 12, 2020, Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe and another officer found Rayshard Brooks asleep in his vehicle outside a Wendy’s restaurant.

After Brooks failed a field sobriety test, the officers attempted to arrest him.  Brooks fought with the officers and grabbed one of their tasers, which he fired at Rolfe.  Rolfe shot Brooks twice, striking him in the back, and Brooks later died of his wounds.

Officer Rolfe was fired the following day, although on May 5, 2021, he was reinstated, on the grounds that he was “not afforded his right to due process” after the shooting.

Paul Howard, Fulton County DA at the time of the shooting, charged Brooks with felony murder in June 2020.  The criminal case against Brooks “remains in limbo,” as current Fulton County DA Fani Willis, elected in August, 2020, has sought to recuse herself from the case.  Prosecutors are awaiting a judge’s decision on who has jurisdiction.

In the meantime, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rolfe’s defense team has noted that findings from a GBI investigation into the shooting contradict what former Fulton County DA Howard publicly claimed when he pressed charges against Rolfe.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Howard stated that a GBI investigation was not even necessary, due to the existence of “extensive video evidence and eyewitness testimony.”  Howard also filed murder charges against Rolfe after a five-day investigation, a full three months before the GBI completed its own evaluation.

Despite Howard’s apparent efforts to discount a GBI investigation, the GBI probe proceeded, and findings from the investigation that were recently released by Rolfe’s defense team suggest that Howard was less than truthful when it came to his claims about the facts of the case.

For example, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Howard claimed Brooks was “only ‘slightly impaired’” when the officers made contact.  However, the GBI obtained a toxicology report that “suggests he could have been under the influence of illicit drugs and alcohol.” 

Brooks’ blood contained cocaine, eutylone, and a prescription sedative, and his blood alcohol level was .102, according to the GBI.

Furthermore, the GBI also noted that drugs were found in Brooks’ car.  Brooks was already on probation, so he would have returned to prison after he was found to be driving under the influence and in possession of drugs.

In addition, Howard claimed that Rolfe did not render aid to Brooks after the shooting.  The GBI report, however, noted witness accounts that confirmed that Rolfe did.

Also, Howard reportedly stated that Rolfe declared, “I got him,” after the shooting, but the GBI found no witnesses to support that claim.

Moreover, Howard claimed that Rolfe kicked Brooks when he was down.  However, GBI investigators, after reviewing videos, determined that Rolfe actually stepped over Brooks.

Rolfe’s defense team is already implementing the newly-released GBI findings in a move to ease Rolfe’s bond restrictions.

Rolfe’s attorney, Noah Pines, branded Howard’s actions in the case last June as a political move, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Paul Howard disregarded the evidence and the experts and arrested Officer Rolfe in an attempt to help his bid for re-election.”

He continued:

“Paul Howard and his staff misinformed the public and the Court as to the facts of this case.”

Pines added that Howard’s public statements during last June’s bond hearing for Rolfe:

 “were not accurate, omitted exculpatory facts, and could have impacted this Court’s decision to impose restrictive conditions of bond.”

As such, Pines is looking for the now-reinstated Officer Rolfe to be allowed to have a gun and interact with other police officers, be able to leave the state, be able to remove his ankle monitor, and be relieved of his 6 pm to 6 am curfew.

Pines’ motion reads:

“Now that the independent investigation by the GBI has been completed and Paul Howard is no longer around to misinform the public and this Court about the facts of this case, it is time for this Court to re-examine the conditions of bond imposed on Officer Rolfe.”

This is certainly not the first time that Howard has come under scrutiny.

For instance, the former DA has been dogged by sexual harassment complaints.

In addition, Howard had to pay a $6500 fine to Georgia’s state ethics commission over receiving money from nonprofits, a move which also led to an investigation by the GBI.  That case is now in the hands of a federal grand jury.

Howard also attended the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, which naturally led to questions about the fairness of his investigation and actions in the case.

In addition, Howard was investigated by the GBI in July of 2021 for illegally issuing Grand Jury subpoenas regarding the officer-involved shooting of Brooks.

Officer Rolfe, after his reinstatement earlier this month, has been placed on administrative leave and is not expected to return to active duty, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings against him.  The results of the motion to lessen his bond restrictions are pending at this writing.

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Atlanta officer fired over fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks reinstated by board

May 5, 2021

ATLANTA, GA – Garrett Rolfe, the fired Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last summer, has been reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board.

The board issued its decision this morning stating:

“Due to the City’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the Board concludes the appellant was not afforded his right to due process. Therefore, the Board GRANTS the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD.”

Rolfe was fired on June 13, the day after Brooks was fatally wounded outside a Wendy’s restaurant.

The incident, captured on surveillance and body camera video, began when officers arrived at the restaurant to find Brooks asleep in his vehicle.

After a brief discussion with Brooks, officers had him perform a field sobriety test, which he failed. Brooks asked officers to allow him to lock his car and walk home, but police informed him he was being arrested.

Brooks began struggling with officers and grabbed an officer’s stun gun. As Brooks ran from officers, he fired the stun gun in the direction of Officer Rolfe, who shot Brooks twice, striking him in the back. Brooks later died.

Rolfe has been charged with felony murder for the shooting and is awaiting trial.

Despite the pending trial, Rolfe appealed his firing with the Atlanta’s Civil Service Board. His attorney, Lance LoRusso, argued before the board two weeks ago that his client’s dismissal occurred “without proper investigation” by the city.

LoRusso also argued that Rolfe did not receive a proper 10-day notice to prepare for a disciplinary hearing before being terminated.

The hearing revealed that then-Atlanta police chief Erika Shields did not sign Rolfe’s dismissal form. She stepped down as chief that same day, eventually resigning. Assistant Chief Todd Coyt signed the dismissal form in Shields’ place.

During an “employee response hearing” held by the city following the shooting, Coyt told the board he believed Rolfe and the other officer charged in the case, Devin Brosnan, “acted accordingly and… were trying to show compassion and did everything they could to calm the situation down.”

However, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told reporters at the time that the circumstances of Brooks’ death required immediate action:

“It is clear that we do not have another day, another minute, another hour to waste.”

LoRusso argued to the board that the process of the employee response hearing did not provide Rolfe time to offer a defense prior to being terminated.

Shockingly, it was also revealed during testimony by Atlanta Police Department Sgt. William Dean, an internal affairs investigator, that Rolfe’s hearing was scheduled to accommodate a 5 p.m. press conference by the mayor announcing Rolfe’s termination.

Rolfe testified that he did not find out about his employee response hearing until 3:45 p.m. and that he was more than an hour outside the city at the time and said he feared for his safety, as video of Brooks’ shooting had been widely seen.

 

In ruling that Rolfe be re-instated, the board noted the lack of notice as a primary finding:

“In this case, the effective date of the discipline was June 14, 2020, and the (notice of proposed adverse action) and the (notice of final adverse action) were issued to the Appellant’s Union Representative at virtually the same time on June 13, 2020. As such, the City’s actions were not compliant with the ten days prior notice period as required by the Code.”

LoRusso said the ruling does not mean Rolfe will be back on the streets as an Atlanta police officer any time soon. Rolfe will not be permitted to return to work because his bond on the murder charge prevents him from possessing a firearm or from being around other officers:

“He’d essentially be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the charges against them.”

The Atlanta Police Department has not issued a statement regarding the ruling as of the writing of this article.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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The post GBI report suggests far-left DA may have lied so he could charge Officer Rolfe With murder of Rayshard Brooks appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Lizzy Murica


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