Family of Rayshard Brooks pursues civil case against officers; Atlanta mayor reacts
Attorneys for Rayshard Brooks’ family held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce they will pursue a civil case against the officers involved in the Atlanta man’s 2020 death. Brooks was killed June 12, 2020, after police confronted him in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant, resulting in him grabbing an officer’s stun gun and attempting to run away.
The filing of the civil case by the family’s lawyers, Justin Miller and L. Chris Stewart, followed an announcement from special prosecutor Pete Skandalakis, who said the investigation determined Atlanta Police officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan were justified in shooting Brooks and that the two men committed no crimes.
"Officer Rolfe may not have understood that Taser had been fired twice," Stewart said at the press conference. "That was not something that he was processing, and because he's not processing that, it's still a deadly weapon."
Stewart then concluded that if Brooks was not carrying a deadly weapon at the time of his death, using deadly force against him was unjustified.
Miller said the Brooks family’s case should go before a grand jury.
“The children [of Rayshard Brooks] deserve to be able to see it," Miller said. “[His] mother deserves to be able to see it, and now they won't have that choice. They won't have that chance. They were robbed of that chance, and that's unfair.”
Skandalakis said that both Rolfe and Brosnan “acted as reasonable officers would under the facts and circumstances of the events of that night. Both acted in accordance with well-established law and were justified in the use of force regarding the situation."
Miller said moving forward with a civil case is good because it's different from criminal court.
“The standard is different, the burden is different," he said. "So we're going to get to present our case. Officer Rolfe is going to have to talk and he's going to have to talk about what he perceived and what he witnessed.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens shared a statement on Twitter in response to the decision not to prosecute the officers involved in Brooks' case:
Dickens mentioned his ongoing sadness of the loss of a life, his respect for the investigation, and the work that remains to build safe communities and trust for police in the city.
Responses to his statement on Twitter included disappointment in the mayor for not taking a stronger stance against police using deadly force.
Community organizer Stacey Hopkins retweeted Dickens' statement with her retort about his reaction to special prosecutor Pete Skandalakis' decision: "And there we have it. I mean, I expected no less. Did we really believe Aylanta's [sic] mayor would slam this decision? We're moving on in the 'city too busy to hate' that is quick to shoot."