Something Smells Rotten in Atlanta [OPINION]
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not completed its investigation of the officer-involved shooting death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, and yet Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. has already filed charges against the now-former officer.
Sounds to me like a rush to judgment.
Garrett Rolfe is facing 11 charges, including felony murder, and could face life in prison without parole or even the death penalty if convicted of the charges.
Rolfe is White and Brooks is Black and that could have something to do with the charges being filed so quickly. Brooks' death has already led to violence and the angry mob is demanding immediate justice.
D.A. Howard is also a Black man who, according to press reports, is being investigated for accusations of sexual harassment and that he stole money from a non-profit. Howard is also facing a run-off election. Bringing a serious case against Rolfe this quickly could help him in that election.
Most of us have seen the extensive video of the encounter between Rolfe, a second officer Devon Brosnan, who faces three lesser charges including aggravated assault, and Brooks. Several law enforcement officials Black and White have determined that the use of deadly force against Brooks was justified as he had criminally assaulted two police officers, stolen a service weapon, and discharged that weapon in the direction of one of the officers while attempting to flee.
Statements made by D.A. Howard do not seem to jibe with what is made evident by the video. Howard talked about Brooks' almost jovial attitude as he cooperated with police. Yeah, before he wrestled the cops to the ground and took an officer's taser.
Howard also stated that Rolfe did not offer Brooks medical assistance for more than two minutes after he'd been shot, but according to the video we've seen Rolfe attempted to keep Brooks alive by performing mouth-to-mouth and asking Brooks to keep breathing for him. There has also been no evidence to support Howard's claim that Rolfe kicked Brooks while he was on the ground after he had been shot.
There is much to be learned about what happened outside of that Wendy's in Atlanta last Friday night. One thing is for certain though, it appears as though D.A. Howard is attempting to fast-track this case to help his cause and, as a result, may have overcharged.
Let's wait and see where this goes once all of the evidence has been evaluated, but from what I have seen so far it still appears to me as though the shooting was justifiable.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.