Posted on August 23, 2022

No Charges Against Atlanta Officers in Fatal Shooting of Rayshard Brooks

Shaddi Abusaid et al., Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 23, 2022

More than two years after Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by Atlanta police, the case against the two officers involved has been dropped.

The special prosecutor announced Tuesday afternoon that he would not pursue charges against the officers. Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, shared the decision during an afternoon news conference.

Brooks, 27, was shot and killed June 12, 2020, after Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan tried to arrest him in the parking lot of a south Atlanta Wendy’s. The shooting set off protests at the restaurant, which was burned to the ground the following day.

“Based on the facts and circumstances confronting Officer Rolfe and Officer Brosnan in this case, it is my conclusion the use of deadly force was objectively reasonable and that they did not act with criminal intent,” Skandalakis said.

In a statement released during the prosecution team’s news conference, the Atlanta Police Department said both Rolfe and Brosnan were still employed by the agency and are both on administrative duty.

“We have faith in the criminal justice system, and we respect the special prosecutor’s decision in this case,” APD said. “Both officers will undergo Georgia POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training Council) recertification and training.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens released a statement saying his “heart continues to ache for the family of Rayshard Brooks. He was a father whose absence will forever be felt by our community.”


Atlanta police Lt. Kevin Knapp, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623 union, which represents more than 1,000 Atlanta officers, said the announcement was “obviously great news.”


Knapp added that police were ready for protests or demonstrations that could follow Tuesday’s announcement.

“The city is on high alert and we are prepared for anything that arises from this,” he said.


Danny Porter, the former longtime district attorney for Gwinnett County, also appeared at the news conference after reviewing the case at Skandalakis’ request.


Five days after Brooks’ high-profile shooting, former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced criminal charges against both officers. Rolfe was charged with 11 counts, including felony murder. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath of office.


Brooks, who had been asleep at the wheel in the drive-thru line, resisted when the officers tried to arrest him on a DUI charge, according to investigators. As Brooks struggled with the officers, they fell to the ground and Brosnan hit his head hard enough to cause a concussion.

Brooks then took Brosnan’s Taser and was seen aiming it at Rolfe while running, firing once and missing. At that point, Rolfe fired three bullets at Brooks, hitting him twice in the back.

According to Skandalakis, the facts of the case were supported by his office’s investigation and analysis of the incident. He pointed out that, because of the city’s curfew at the time, the Wendy’s dining room was closed so customers could only order from the drive-thru window. Prior to the employees calling 911, Brooks had been asleep in his car for about 40 minutes, Skandalakis said.

The restaurant manager went to Brooks’ car and knocked on the window, Skandalakis said. According to the investigation, Brooks rolled down his window and stared blankly at the manager when they asked him to move his car. He then rolled up his window and fell back asleep, leading to the 911 call.


During the officers’ conversation with Brooks, they suspected he was driving under the influence. Brooks consented to a portable field alcohol test and it returned a result of .108, well above the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content. When the officers attempted to take Brooks into custody, the encounter lost its cordial tone.

“I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it, but Brooks proceeds to beat the crap out of the two officers,” Porter said in his analysis of the video.

At that point, Porter says officers had probable cause to arrest Brooks for DUI, escape and resisting arrest.


At the time of the shooting, Brooks was on probation until 2026. The father of three daughters and one stepson had already served one year behind bars for a 2014 incident in which he yanked his wife against her will into another room. Brooks pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and child cruelty because his stepson witnessed the fight.

His killing came after weeks of intense demonstrations in Atlanta and across the country over Floyd’s murder. The police shooting, captured on video, kicked off another wave of protests across the city that at times turned destructive.


As the special prosecutor answered questions at the end of the news conference, Skandalakis addressed the political climate around Brooks’ shooting.

“Black lives do matter,” he said. {snip}


“Let’s just say if this was two black officers chasing a white suspect and the same facts happened, I would have the same findings,” Skandalakis continued. {snip}


Rolfe was reinstated by the city’s Civil Service Board in May 2021.

Rolfe and Brosnan filed a federal lawsuit in June saying they were attacked by Brooks and had the right to use force to prevent him from “imminent use of unlawful force against them.”