Lawyers representing the Atlanta cop charged with murdering unarmed black man Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s restaurant this month are disputing claims made by Fulton County’s district attorney.
“While we are waiting for the (Georgia Bureau of Investigations) to finish its investigation, there are certain allegations made by (DA) Paul Howard that are simply not supported by the facts,” attorneys Noah H. Pines and Bill Thomas said in a Monday statement to the Daily News.
Rayshard Brooks’ criminal arrest record:
– Felony Cruelty to Children
– Battery, Family Violence
– False Imprisonment
Violent felonies going back years, including beating his family and kids.
But yeah can't imagine why officer called for back-up and didn't just let him go with a Taser on him. pic.twitter.com/H0LB4e4zkM
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 16, 2020
The defense lawyers first took issue with Howard’s claim that now-fired officer Garrett Rolfe never properly informed Brooks he was under arrest for DUI before trying to handcuff him.
Speaking last week at the press conference announcing Rolfe’s felony murder charge, the DA said Brooks fully cooperated with Rolfe and another officer for more than 41 minutes before he was abruptly “grabbed by the rear” and a struggle ensued.
Rolfe’s lawyers argued Monday that their client’s statements to Brooks were enough to adequately convey what was happening.
“It is clear from the video that Officer Rolfe told Mr. Brooks, ‘I think you’ve had too much to be driving. Put your hands behind your back.’ Clearly this statement is sufficient to inform Mr. Brooks that he is under arrest,” they said.
The lawyers also argued that the taser Brooks wrested away from the officers and later shot into the air as he was trying to flee did in fact constitute a deadly weapon.
They claimed Howard recently testified under oath that a taser can be considered life-threatening.
“So, either it is a deadly weapon, or someone committed perjury,” they said.
In his comments last week, Howard said that the taser Brooks seized had already been used once during the struggle, so after he fired it a second time while running, it was rendered spent and useless by the time Rolfe opened fire with his 9mm Glock.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner ruled Brooks’ death a homicide, saying he died from two gunshot wounds to his back.
One of the bullets pierced his heart, Howard said.
Brooks, 27, had fallen asleep in his rental vehicle in the drive-through lane of the Wendy’s when someone called 911 the night of June 12. A different officer, Devin Brosnan, responded first and appeared close to letting Brooks continue his nap once he re-parked the car out of the way.
But Brosnan called for backup from a DUI-certified officer, and Rolfe arrived on the scene, patted Brooks down and subjected the married father of three daughters to a lengthy field sobriety test that included a failed breathalyzer test.
Rolfe, 27, ultimately fired his gun three times, hitting Brooks twice in the back and landing his third bullet in the vehicle of three witnesses at the scene, prosecutors said.
“I got him,” Rolfe allegedly said before kicking Brooks as he lay dying on the ground, Howard alleged.
Brosnan is accused of standing on Brooks’ shoulder following the shooting and was charged with four counts including aggravated assault Wednesday.
Both officers are accused of delaying medical aid to Brooks for more than two minutes.
Brooks was rushed to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead following emergency surgery.
Brosnan, 26, has agreed to cooperate with the investigation, Howard said.
Both officer turned themselves in Thursday night. Brosnan was released on a signature bond, meaning he’ll only have to pay if he doesn’t show up to court.
Rolfe was transferred to a neighboring county’s jail for “safekeeping” and has a court appearance set for Tuesday.
(c)2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.