The criminal case against two Atlanta police officers in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks is barely hours old, but it has already run into a potential problem. Don Samuel, a lawyer for secondary defendant Devin Brosnan, said early Wednesday evening that his client has not agreed to be a state’s witness, contrary to a press conference from Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard earlier in the afternoon.
Don Samuel, a lawyer for Officer Devin Brosnan, says his client has not agreed to be a state’s witness, as District Attorney Paul Howard said, or to plead guilty to the charges. #RayshardBrooks
— Bill Rankin (@ajccourts) June 17, 2020
Howard announced that Brosnan and now-fired officer Garrett Rolfe are being charged in the shooting death of Brooks. As previously reported, officers responded to a call about a man sleeping in his vehicle in a Wendy’s drive-thru. That was Brooks. They questioned him, and then tried to arrest him after a breathalyzer returned a .108. He resisted.
From the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which looked into the incident:
The GBI has obtained additional surveillance video from the Wendy’s restaurant. Agents have also reviewed video posted on social media. These new videos indicate that during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s Tasers and began to flee from the scene. Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.
Howard attempted to show during a press conference on Wednesday that the shooting was unjustified. Brooks was cooperative during the questioning, and police broke policy by not telling him he was under arrest for a DUI, the prosecutor said. There’s evidence Rolfe knew the Taser in question had been fired twice before the fatal shooting and that it was no longer a danger to him or anyone else, according to the DA. The defendant allegedly also kicked the dying man before medical attention was applied. A stray bullet struck a nearby vehicle containing people traveling from Tennessee, said Howard.
Brosnan faces charges including aggravated assault because he allegedly stood on the dying man’s shoulder. Nonetheless, this co-defendant admitted to the act, professed to be surprised that the incident escalated to an arrest, and will be a state’s witness, said Howard during the press conference. But obviously, that last detail is suddenly up in the air.
[Screengrab via Atlanta Police Department]
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