Newly surfaced records reveal that the police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot in Atlanta last week had several citizen complaints against him prior to the shooting, including one overuse of excessive force involving a firearm in 2017.
Garrett Rolfe was fired from the Atlanta Police Department in the wake of Brooks' killing shortly after the police chief announced she was stepping down. The accompanying officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave.
Use of Force Involving a Firearm
According to disciplinary records released by the Atlanta Police Department, Rolfe had several citizen complaints against him that date back to 2015, all with notes saying no action was taken. The history also revealed a September 2016 complaint about the use of force involving a firearm, for which he received a written reprimand in October 2017.
The documents provided by police do not go into further detail, so the circumstances of the incident and reprimand remain unclear. For his seven-year stint with the police force, it was his only use-of-force complaint before Friday's fatal shooting. The 12 other incidents he was involved in included vehicle accidents and the discharge of a firearm in 2015.
Training in De-Escalation, Use of Deadly Force
Rolfe had been on the force for six years and had recently completed training in de-escalation techniques, according to his department record. In addition to the de-escalation training, he took coursework in April in cultural awareness. This past January, he passed a course entitled "Use of Deadly Force." Rolfe also had multiple courses in tactical team operations and firearms training.
Over his six-year stint with the police force, he had more than 2,000 hours of training under his belt. Moreover, Rolfe was commended by the Atlanta police for his role in the department's High-Intensity Traffic Team Unit, which is tasked with reducing "traffic-related injuries and fatalities" and clamping down on "alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses by focusing on traffic enforcement related to alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers," according to the agency's policy manual.
Rayshard Brooks Shooting
Rolfe and Brosnan responded to a complaint of a man asleep in his car at a Wendy's drive-thru on Friday. The interaction between Brooks and the officers started off peacefully but things went awry after Brooks failed a breathalyzer test, as previously reported. When officers tried to arrest him, he resisted before grabbing a Taser from one of their hands and running away, as seen in footage from the officers' bodycams and surveillance cameras.
Rolfe fired three shots, fatally hitting Brooks. The Fulton County medical examiner's office said in a statement that Brooks' death has been ruled a homicide,. The official cause of death was listed as "gunshot wounds of the back," which caused "organ injuries and blood loss." His death comes just three weeks after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police, sparking global protests decrying racism and oppression and calling for police reform.