As the killing of a 27-year-old black man in an encounter with two white officers late Friday rekindled fiery protests in Atlanta and prompted the police chief’s resignation, the medical examiner found Rayshard Brooks suffered two gunshot wounds to the back and his death has been ruled a homicide.
The office of Fulton County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Brooks on Sunday, and said that the gunshot wounds to the back created organ failure because of blood loss.
One minute, Brooks was chatting cooperatively with Atlanta police, saying he’d had a couple of drinks to celebrate his daughter’s birthday and agreeing to a breath test. The next, they were wrestling on the ground and grappling over a Taser before Brooks took the weapon and pointed it at the officers. Seconds later, three gunshots sounded and Brooks fell to the ground.
Atlanta police video released Sunday showing a seemingly routine sobriety check outside a Wendy’s restaurant that quickly spun out of control, ending in gunfire.
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Police said Sunday the department terminated Officer Garrett Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots, and Officer Devin Brosnan was placed on administrative duty. Rolfe had worked for the department since October 2013, and Brosnan since September 2018.
L. Chris Stewart, a Brooks family attorney, said the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”
Stewart said Brooks, a father of four, on Friday had celebrated the eighth birthday of one of his daughters.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Saturday she didn’t believe the shooting was justified. Police Chief Erika Shields, who joined the department as a beat officer in 1995, resigned.
Brooks’ death inflamed raw emotions in Atlanta and across the U.S. following the May 25 police custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.