Jaclyn Diaz, NPR, January 29, 2021
In one of her first moves as the newly elected Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis is asking for another prosecutor to take over a controversial felony murder case.
Willis sent a letter on Wednesday to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asking that he transfer the felony murder case against former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in June. Rolfe is white and Brooks was Black.
Willis says the case has to be moved out of her office due to the conduct of her predecessor, Paul Howard. His actions created a “sufficient question of the appropriateness of this office continuing to handle the investigation and possible prosecution of these cases,” she wrote.
She says Howard’s conduct, including using video evidence in a campaign television ad, may have violated a Georgia Bar Rule stating that a prosecutor in a criminal case should refrain from making “extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”
Howard’s conduct in office as well as his actions leading the Brooks’ shooting case is already the subject of Georgia Bureau of Investigations review.
Willis is also asking to transfer an excessive force case involving six other Atlanta Police Department officers.