The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it was unaware that Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard planned to file charges against the officers involved in the Rayshard Brooks case while the agency was still conducting its investigation.

Approximately an hour after Howard announced the charges Wednesday, the agency posted on social media:

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Atlanta Police Department on Friday night, June 12th, to investigate an officer involved shooting at the Wendy’s Restaurant on University Avenue. We are in the process of conducting this investigation. Although we have made significant progress in the case, we have not completed our work. Our goal in every officer involved shooting case we are requested to review, is to complete a thorough, impartial investigation before we submit the file to the respective District Attorney’s Office.

The GBI was not aware of today’s press conference before it was conducted. We were not consulted on the charges filed by the District Attorney. Despite today’s occurrence, the GBI will complete its mission of completing an impartial and thorough investigation of this incident and we will submit the file, once completed, to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.


The now-former Atlanta police officer involved in the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Rayshard Brooks has been charged with felony murder and 10 other criminal charges.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday that Garrett Rolfe, who was fired over the weekend, would stand trial on 11 counts including felony murder and a number of assault charges.

Howard said Wednesday that Brooks never displayed any “aggressive behavior” toward the officers during the nearly 42-minute exchange with officers, while referring to Brooks as ‘jovial.’ He went on to say that the officers failed to provide “timely” medical attention to Brooks after he was shot and that Rolfe kicked Brooks as he was lying on the ground, “fighting for his life.”

The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, faces three charges, “including aggravated assault for standing or stepping on Brooks’ shoulder after he was shot.” He has already agreed to serve as a witness for the state and testify against Rolfe, according to Howard. They also offered him a bond of $50,000 in exchange for his cooperation.

Atlanta officers responded to a call Friday night due a man, later identified as Rayshard Brooks, asleep in his vehicle and blocking the drive-thru lane. Body camera footage shows Brooks move his vehicle to a parking spot where he hits several bushes. After conducting a field sobriety test for possible DUI, officers decided to take Brooks into custody but Brooks resisted. A scuffle ensued and  Brooks began resisting. Officers attempted to restrain him and to tase him, but Brooks took possession of the taser and began to flee. Surveillance from the Wendy’s shows Brooks turn around and point the taser at Officer Rolfe, who fired his duty weapon. The autopsy concluded that Brooks was shot twice in the back.

Pundits and activists alike have contended that Rolfe should have used a different form of force – of the less-than lethal variety – or allowed Brooks to flee with his taser. Case law on the matter sets a different precedent, however.

In the 1994 Supreme Court case Scott v. Henrich, 39 F.3d 912 (9th Cir. 1994) the Plaintiff argued that an officer should have used “alternate measures” prior to deadly force, basically asserting that deadly force wasn’t necessary. The Court stated:

“… as the text of the Fourth Amendment indicates, the appropriate inquiry is whether the officers acted reasonably, not whether they had less intrusive alternatives available to them. Requiring officers to find and choose the least intrusive alternative would require them to exercise superhuman judgment…Imposing such a requirement would inevitably induce tentativeness by officers, and thus deter police from protecting the public and themselves. It would also entangle the courts in endless second-guessing of police decisions made under stress and subject to the exigencies of the moment.”

Attorneys for the Brooks’ family have stated that police should have called family members or an Uber for Brooks instead of arresting him.

The charges by Howard, who is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation himself and is embroiled in a contentious primary election, are a substantial shift from last week’s press conference during which Howard said that a taser is a deadly weapon under Georgia law. The clip of that video is below.

The district attorney said this is the 40th time his office will be prosecuting a police officer for misconduct and the 9th time a police officer has been charged in a homicide.

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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

25 COMMENTS

  1. In reading through this article, I sensed a slant of bias tangled up within it. After noticing the author is a “Like It Or Not” contributor for Fox in Atlanta, it seems my perception is at least partially confirmed. Cases sometimes do break precedent, and for good reason. We’ll see, I reckon.

    • Hummm… so the contributor is a Fox in Atlanta contributor, so that makes them what? Untrustworthy?
      Would you say the same for confirmed liars like those from MSNBC, CNN, NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. You know, those who supported the lies presented to support FISA investigations, and haven’t ever mentioned it after. Or failed to mention the all the lies of the previous Administration, until they couldn’t any more. Like ‘Fast & Furious’, Benghazi, NSA, IRS, Support for ISIL, the Iran Pay off, & so much more.

      • Your problem sir is, you’re using factual data, instead of political and social emotion. You should You Tube Joseph Hutcheson, N Carolina killed by cop.

  2. The prosecutor clearly said that “the taser is a deadly weapon under Georgia law.” It’s right there in black and white. That was so last week. Now Brooks steals a deadly weapon from a law enforcement officer and points it at him, Brooks is a victim? The self same prosecutor is going to prosecute the law enforcement officer for defending his life from someone pointing a deadly weapon at him? Good luck in court.

  3. He not only pointed the tazer at officer, but fired it at officer. Tazers can cause a person to freeze up and then the officer wouldn’t have been able to defend himself.

    • The officer was asking for it. He tazed him for no reason. Are police just allowed to electrocute you? I think not. This will set a good precedent.

      And we can defund the police. Don’t need all that money going to obese sh*theads who don’t help anyone and who have the time of day to harass a man for forty minutes before shooting him. No one needs that. The current situation is a failure of the imagination.

      • Jessica neither cop ever tazed Brooks . Brooks stole the tazer from the cop during the struggle ….
        and what type of idiot swings on a cop….

      • I’m a little confused Jessica? Those officers couldn’t have been any more cordial for 40 minutes. Who escalated the situation Jessica? What would be the motive for someone to resist arrest and struggle with two police officers over a simple DUI? Perhaps, Maybe because the suspect was on probation and facing a return to jail could have had something to do with his reaction? The suspect has an extensive criminal record. Of course, you won’t hear that in the news, even though it’s very relevant to the situation.
        Just two weeks prior this very same district attorney ruled that a taser was a deadly weapon. Now two weeks later it’s no longer a deadly weapon? Is it going to be all right now to physically fight police officers steal their taser run away and shoot at them with that taser? Is that where we’re headed now? That’s now acceptable behavior? There were 7500 murders in the black community last year the overwhelming majority were black on black homicides. Defund the police? What community do you think will suffer the most from that ridiculous policy? You must want to see more black-on-black homicide.

      • Jessica are you for real?? Now point out to us where in the video they shot Mr. Brooks with a taser. Tell us what seconds in the video they did do that. Now you do know that if the cops shot Mr.Brooks with a taser he would’ve been incapable of running across the parking lot right???? Do you know how so uniformed and clueless / idiotic / ignorant you made yourself look????? I can’t even wrap my head around a stupid statement like that..
        https://youtu.be/jnHecVdUysQ

  4. Under the DA of Atlanta’s law, if an officer uses a taser against someone, specifically a black person, the taser is a deadly weapon, but if the person, specifically a black person, takes the taser away from the officer and tries to use it on the officer, then suddenly it is no longer a deadly weapon. What a feckless piece of human waste this DA is.
    https://youtu.be/nxKN46YdWFg

  5. Mr brooks initiated and continued a felonious assault against two officers he further resisted a lawful arrest for a crime he himself committed ..he did not steal the officers taser.. he committed a strong arm Forceful robbery of that weapon then broke free of them ran away with the weapon then turned on the officer and committed yet another felonious And deadly act against the police by firing it in the direction of the officers face and head before the officer took justified action with his service weapon .. had he not who’s to know what mr brooks would of done with the weapon next had he struck the officer .. he could of got the officers gun or incapacitated him n then used the weapon on other civilians.. he obviously had no problem using it against the law..Carrying on his Tyraid and using it against a civilian to get away or carjack someone would of been no problem for him.. he already beat off a lawful arrest assaulted two officers resisted arrest committed strong arm robbery then committed a 1st degree assault with a deadly weapon against the police and not to leave out he was to be under arrest for dwi .. this DA is a complete racist incompetent idiot and this whole s..t show he put on will blow up in his face .. these officers were perfectly and completely justified in their actions..

  6. I may be wrong, but the case you cited is not precedent. Scott v. Henrich, 39 F.3d 912 (9th Cir. 1994). It is from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Georgia is not in the Ninth Circuit. Furthermore, that case is regarding an officer being civically sued under a federal statute. Not a matter of Georgia criminal law. While I understand the point you are making is to contrast with commentators, it would be good to know if there are any analogous situations that happened in Georgia and the outcome of that case.

  7. Well said by many of you. This DA has been a joke, is currently a joke and will continue to be a joke. He makes the law fit him and his needs (literally one week it is a deadly weapon, next week it isn’t) GBI will prove statements he made in this circus press conference to be several lies as well. The case I am most interested in seeing is his theft of non-profit funds. Read AJC article – “Nonprofit meant to stem gang violence used to pay Fulton DA” very interesting read… This guy belongs in Jail….

  8. The D.A. flat out lied and “omitted” a few other things regarding the altercation. And to the fools calling for defunding or disbanding police depts, y’all would be first ones calling if you were being attacked. What if your teenage daughter is home alone and someone breaks in? Do you people even realize what fools you are. No because you’re delusional.

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