Prosecutors are considering criminal charges in the death of Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Atlanta on Friday. His death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner and Brooks’ widow is calling it a murder.
“Right now I’m still not processing the fact that my husband’s not coming home ever,” Tomika Miller told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.
Miller and 27-year-old Brooks had four children. A knock on the door Saturday morning shattered their world.
“They said, ‘Well Miss Miller, we’re sorry to tell you.’ I just dropped to my knees because once I heard ‘I’m sorry to tell you,’ I knew it was nothing good,” Miller said.
On Friday night, two white Atlanta police officers responded to a call at a Wendy’s. In the drive-thru, they found Brooks sleeping in his car.
At first their talk, which lasted over 20 minutes, was cordial, according to the body camera video released by police. At one point, Brooks offered to walk to his sister’s house, but one of the officers asked Brooks to take a sobriety test, and he failed. That’s when a fight broke out.
Brooks wrestled away one of the officer’s tasers and ran. Officer Garrett Rolfe chased him. Brooks, running, spun around and fired the taser. Rolfe fired his handgun three times, killing Brooks.
The medical examiner found Brooks had “two gunshot wounds (to) his back.” His death was ruled a “homicide.”
Rolfe was fired by Atlanta police over the weekend. His partner, officer Devin Brosnan, has been placed on administrative duty.
The video of Brooks’ death is too painful for Miller to watch, but she wants the two police officers behind bars.
“It was murder. That was not justified,” she said. “Because he was shot and he wasn’t armed. He wasn’t dangerous.”
Protesters started coming out in Atlanta over the weekend. They blocked the interstate, and riot police blocked them. Some people torched the Wendy’s where the shooting happened.
Brooks’ death came three weeks after the police killing of George Floyd. The video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes sparked protests and conversations about police reform nationwide. Chauvin was fired from the department and charged with second-degree murder.
“The idea of policing and its relationship to African American communities has never been formed. It’s never been perfected. It’s never been connected. It’s more of an authoritarian system when it comes to minorities,” said lawyer Chris Stewart, who represents Brooks’s family.
Miller said she has cried for Floyd and now she knows his family’s pain.
“I never imagined it being at my front door. I never imagined it being me having to do this and go through this. And I honestly feel I felt the pain, but now I really feel the pain,” she said.
Stewart said a taser is not considered a deadly weapon, though tasers can lead to cardiac arrests and death. The county’s district attorney says by midweek he’ll decide whether to criminally charge either police officer.
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