The Slatest

Rayshard Brooks: Bodycam Footage Shows Moments Leading Up to Atlanta Police Shooting

Rolfe raises his index finger in front of Brooks' face during a sobriety test
Former Atlanta Police Department Officer Garrett Rolfe conducts a field sobriety test on 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot in a still image from the body camera video of Officer Devin Brosnan in Atlanta on Friday. Atlanta Police Department/Handout via Reuters

The Atlanta Police Department released video footage showing the sequence of events leading to the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot on Friday night that led to a fresh wave of protests in the city. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spliced together the video from different sources, including body- and dashcam videos, as well as surveillance video from the Wendy’s that paints a pretty clear picture of what happened that night. The video begins with Officer Devin Brosnan waking Brooks up as he was asleep at the wheel of a car in the Wendy’s drive-thru lane. When Brooks finally wakes up, he moves the car to a parking spot, and that’s when Officer Garrett Rolfe, who has since been fired, arrives at the scene.

For the next half-hour, the officers talk to Brooks and conduct a sobriety test. Throughout the whole encounter, everyone seems calm and polite, with Brooks responding to the officers’ questions. But when the officer tells him, “I think you’ve had too much to drink to be driving” and attempts to arrest him, the situation quickly gets out of control. Less than a minute later, Brooks was shot.

The video shows Brooks begin to struggle as he tries to escape from the officers’ grasp. “You’re going to get tased,” an officer can be heard warning after calling on Brooks to “stop fighting.” Eyewitness videos clearly show Brooks grabbing a Taser from Brosnan’s hands. He then gets up and appears to punch Rolfe. One officer can be heard shouting, “Hands off the Taser.” A bodycam appears to fall on the ground, and one officer screams, “He’s got my fucking Taser!” Brooks starts to run away with the Taser in his hand. Rolfe starts to chase after him and continues to try to fire the Taser. At one point Brooks looks behind him and appears to fire the Taser. “The flash of the Taser suggests that Mr. Brooks did not fire it with any real accuracy,” notes the New York Times. That is when Rolfe appears to throw down his Taser, take out his handgun, and fire three times at Brooks, who falls to the ground. The surveillance video appears to show that it took the officers around two minutes to begin providing medical assistance to Brooks, who was injured but moving on the ground.

“Are you not tired of seeing cases like this happen?” attorney Chris Stewart, who was hired by Brooks’ family, said to reporters. There were “other options” available to the cops “instead of shooting him in the back,” he added. Brooks, 27, had four children.

The Wendy’s where the shooting took place was set on fire Saturday. The restaurant apparently caught fire after protesters broke windows and threw fireworks inside. It was on fire for more than 45 minutes before firefighters arrived to put out the blaze. Protesters also shut down a major highway, and three dozen demonstrators were arrested. It was the third straight weekend of protests in Atlanta against police violence.