From what I can see with the information currently available to us, the police-involved shooting death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy's in Atlanta last week was justifiable.

The facts as laid out before us indicate that Brooks was passed out drunk in the driver's seat of his vehicle in the drive-thru of Wendy's restaurant. Employees say Brooks' car was impeding drive-thru traffic and needed to be removed. They called the police.

When the police arrived they administered at least one field sobriety test and determined that Brooks was intoxicated. They attempted to arrest him.

After initially cooperating with the police officers, Brooks became combative and at one point he and the two officers were wrestling on the ground. Officer Garrett Rolfe removed his Taser and threatened Brooks with it. Brooks was able to commandeer the Taser and fled on foot with the officers in hot pursuit.

While attempting to elude police capture, Brooks is seen on video surveillance footage aiming and perhaps firing the Taser at a Rolfe. The officer removed his service revolver and fired several shots, striking Brooks twice in the back. Brooks later died during surgery at a nearby hospital.

Brooks' lawyers say the officers should have just allowed Brooks to walk to a sister's house nearby and, if they had, he'd be alive today. But since when do drunk driving suspects get to walk home without facing charges?

Brooks resisted arrest. He assaulted police officers. He stole a police officer's service weapon and aimed the weapon at the officer after attempting to flee on foot. Yet all of the criticism for what happened is aimed at the officers and none of the blame for what happened is being assigned to Brooks.

Some say the officers should have just let him escape with the Taser and round him up later. Suppose Brooks took a hostage with the Taser or attempted to operate a vehicle again while intoxicated and someone was hurt or killed?

Officer Rolfe had every right to defend his own life and that of his partner against a man armed with a Taser who was threatening them. Responsibility for Rayshard Brooks' death lays with Rayshard Brooks and no one else. He had the power to change the narrative. He chose not to. As a result, he lost his life.

The shooting death of Rayshard Brooks appears, to me, to be justifiable. The torching of Wendy's in the aftermath by social justice warriors was not.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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