Rayshard Brooks’ family ‘heartbroken’ over dropped charges

Southeast

FILE – This screen grab taken from body camera video provided by the Atlanta Police Department shows Rayshard Brooks, right, as he speaks with Officer Garrett Rolfe, left, in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta, June 12, 2020. A specially appointed prosecutor said Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that he will not pursue any charges against the Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Brooks more than two years ago. (Atlanta Police Department via AP, File)

(NewsNation) — The family of Rayshard Brooks held a press conference Tuesday following news specially appointed prosecutor Pete Skandalakis would not pursue charges against the two white Atlanta police officers with whom he clashed during a 2020 encounter that left the 27-year-old Black man dead.

“The entire world has seen one finding from a district attorney — pictures, exhibits, breakdowns of videos — finding guilt, finding them at fault. Then today, we watch as a world, as a community, another district attorney or prosecutor finding (a) totally different result from the same facts,” attorney Chris Stewart, who is representing the Brooks family, said. 

“So we’re heartbroken, confused — but not angry,” Stewart continued.

The 2020 incident involving Brooks and Atlanta police was initially peaceful after officers responded to complaints of a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s restaurant. It wasn’t until Brooks allegedly resisted arrest by grabbing one of the officers’ Tasers and firing back that the officers reportedly retaliated.

While Stewart agreed Brooks’ fight with law enforcement was not warranted, he maintained that the cops’ lives were never in jeopardy and that their response involved excessive force.

“No person in this country should fight with police officers,” Stewart said. “So was it wrong? Yes. But did he have to take his life? No.” 

According to Skandalakis, however, the officer’s use of deadly force was objectively reasonable, contrasting the circumstances of Brooks’ death with those in the case of George Floyd, whose death drew widespread protests and helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This isn’t one of those cases,” he said. “This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt and, you know, unfortunately, by his actions, this is what happened.”

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