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Atlanta officer fired after recent deadly shooting of black man

Published: Updated:

An Atlanta police officer was fired following the fatal shooting of a black man and another officer was placed on administrative duty, the police department announced early Sunday.

The moves follows the Saturday resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who stepped down as the Friday night killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis had simmered down.

The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, and the officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Bronsan, who was hired in September 2018.

The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers.

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Protesters on Saturday night set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was fatally shot the night before and blocked traffic on a nearby highway, although the fire was out by 11:30 p.m.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the police chief’s resignation at a Saturday afternoon news conference and called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire at Brooks.

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said.

She said it was Shields’ own decision to step aside as police chief and that she would remain with the city in an undetermined role. Interim Corrections Chief Rodney Bryant would serve as interim police chief until a permanent replacement is found.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting, said the deadly confrontation started with officers responding to a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the restaurant’s drive-thru lane.

The GBI said Brooks failed a field sobriety test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.

The GBI released security camera video of the shooting Saturday. The footage shows a man running from two white police officers as he raises a hand, which is holding some type of object, toward an officer a few steps behind him. The officer draws his gun and fires as the man keeps running, then falls to the ground in the parking lot.

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GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Brooks had grabbed a Taser from one of the officers and appeared to point it at the officer as he fled, prompting the officer to reach for his gun and fire an estimated three shots.

The security camera video recorded Brooks “running or fleeing from Atlanta police officers,” Reynolds said.

“It appears that he has in his hand a Taser.”

The footage does not show Brooks’ initial struggle with police.

L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”

“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart said. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon ... but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”

He said Brooks was a father of four and had celebrated a daughter’s eighth birthday Friday before he was killed.

The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the US following the May 25 death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Atlanta was among US cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.

Protesters rally against racial inequality and the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia, US June 13, 2020. (Reuters)
Protesters rally against racial inequality and the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia, US June 13, 2020. (Reuters)