Garrett Rolfe, the Atlanta police officer that shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, has been reinstated, reported NPR.
An Atlanta oversight board found that a series of technicalities in Rolfe’s initial firing denied him of due process and merited his reinstatement. Due to his pending criminal charges, Rolfe will still be on administrative leave. The officer is currently charged with murder.
In June last year, Brooks, 27, encountered the police when someone called and reported that a man was asleep in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s and obstructing other vehicles. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), when the officers arrived, they administered a field sobriety test. Brooks failed that test.
According to the GBI, Rayshard began to resist and struggle with officers and took one of the officers’ tasers as he ran away. During a foot chase, Brooks turned and pointed the taser at the police, and that is when Garrett Rolfe shot him. Brooks died in surgery at a local hospital. From the time of an attempt to arrest to Brooks being shot, only about one minute elapsed.
Soon after, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for Rolfe to be fired as protests raged within 24 hours of the shooting. On Wednesday, the oversight board’s decision stirred debate on whether or not the mayor’s vigor in calling for the officer’s firing lead to the stunning reversal of his termination.
In a press conference, attorneys L. Chris Stewart, who was part of the legal team representing George Floyd’s family in Minnesota, and Justin Miller, placed the blame on the city for the outcome, saying they rushed the process to pacify protesters and, in so doing, subverted real justice. The lawyers also said that they expect the city to re-initiate the firing process for Rolfe and plan to sue the city due to Wednesday’s decision.
For her part, Mayor Bottoms insisted that firing Rolfe promptly was in the best interest of the public’s safety. The City of Atlanta has made no comment on its intentions to re-fire Rolfe.
After an attempt at recusal, dismissal, and change of venue, Garrett Rolfe’s trial still has not taken place, nor is there a set date for it at this time.