The officer who killed Rayshard Brooks is now suing Atlanta city officialsAugust 6, 2020
The officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back as he tried to evade police custody is now suing the Atlanta mayor and interim police chief. Two months after Garrett Rolfe was fired, a lawsuit claims that his dismissal, handed down the day after Brooks’s killing, is a violation of his rights as a citizen and city employee. According to the suit, Rolfe is asking to be reinstated on the force.
The suit claims that Rolfe’s termination on June 13 violated the city’s municipal code regarding disciplinary action, which states that Atlanta public servants are entitled an investigation and warning, among other administrative measures. Naming both Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and the interim police chief Rodney Bryant in the suit, Rolfe claims that those highest up in the city did not uphold their “ministerial duty to comply with the municipal code.” The suit also claims that Rolfe has a constitutional right to due process, which he believes was not upheld in his firing.
The evening of June 12, Rolfe and another officer responded to calls that a Wendy’s drive-through lane was blocked. The officers found Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, asleep in his car. Rolfe performed a breathalyzer and found that Brooks’s blood-alcohol levels were considered too high to drive. As Rolfe moved to arrest him, Brooks resisted. Brooks attempted to run away with the other officer’s Taser, attempting to fire the Taser at Rolfe while fleeing, per CBS News. Rolfe then shot him in the back.
Rolfe contends in the suit that his co-responding officer did not face the same disciplinary action, and insinuates that because other officers who have flagrantly violated the law have received lesser consequences, his firing is questionable. “Many other City of Atlanta police officers who have been charged with crimes, including felonies, have remained employed during the investigation and pendency of their criminal charges,” the suit reads.
Due to both his firing and the national attention drawn to the case, Rolfe additionally claims that he has suffered “irreparable injury” to his reputation and suffered a “loss of pay that is affecting him daily.” Rolfe is also demanding back pay for lost wages.
This is latest development into the case against Rolfe, who is free on bond but has been charged with multiple criminal violations, including felony murder. Now, prosecutors for Brooks’s family are asking that the judge revoke Rolfe’s bond, arguing he violated its terms when he traveled to Florida on vacation. The legal team for Brooks’s family said that Rolfe’s lawyers neglected to notify the judge immediately, and instead waited until the fired officer was out of state and had been “on the beach for a few days.”