Skip to main content

District Attorney Considering Charges Up to Murder in Police Shooting Death of Rayshard Brooks


Will now-former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe face charges in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks?  Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he’s looking at that decision.

If there were a charge of felony murder, the underlying felony would be aggravated assault, Howard told CNN on Sunday.

Based on his comments, voluntary manslaughter is the least likely to be charged. He said that he believed in this instance, the choice would be between murder and felony murder.

“I think it’s either murder or it’s nothing,” said criminal defense attorney Page Pate, who is unaffiliated with the matter. He said there was no question Rolfe intended to kill Brooks.

“The only question is going to be, ‘Was that justified?'” he said on CNN. “Was he in reasonable fear that he was about to be killed himself? It is not just, ‘I think this guy may hurt me. I think he may hurt someone else.'” The reasonable fear must be of a “risk of death,” or of “serious violent injury to the officer or of someone close by.” Otherwise, Rolfe would have no right to take Brooks’s life.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Brooks took an officer’s Taser when fleeing:

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.

Elie Honig, a white collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor called the charges in question against Rolfe–murder, felony murder, and voluntary manslaughter–the “correct potentially applicable charges” depending on the facts.

[Screengrab via Atlanta Police Department]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: