Ex-Atlanta officer charged in Rayshard Brooks’ death sues over firing

A former Atlanta police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks is suing to get his job back, saying that his firing violated his constitutional rights.

Garrett Rolfe filed the suit Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and interim police Chief Rodney Bryant. Rolfe, along with Officer Devin Brosnan, was arrested in June after he shot and killed Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in the parking lot of a Wendy’s.

Rolfe was charged with 11 counts including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property and violation of oath. He was fired by the Atlanta Police Department a day after the June 12 shooting.

His lawsuit, obtained by NBC News, says that Rolfe’s use of force during the shooting “was proper and in compliance with Georgia law” and the police department’s policies.

Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe.Atlanta Police Dept / via AFP – Getty Images

It says he was fired “without an investigation, without proper notice, without a pre-disciplinary hearing, and in direct violation of the municipal code of the city of Atlanta.”

The petition also points out that Brosnan was not fired by the department and was instead placed on administrative leave, even though he was charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of violation of oath.

“Many other city of Atlanta police officers who have been charged with crimes, including felonies, have remained employed during the investigation and pendency of their criminal charges,” the petition states.

Rolfe, who was hired by the department in September 2014, is seeking to be reinstated with back pay and benefits.

His attorneys said in a joint statement Wednesday that Rolfe is “entitled to due process, equal protection of the law, and the benefit of the city ordinances that protect every city employee.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said that “the City has not been served with a lawsuit at this time.” The police department said it “does not comment on pending litigation.”

Rolfe and Brosnan were responding to a call at the Wendy’s about a man asleep behind the wheel in the restaurant’s drive-thru when they encountered Brooks.

Dash and body camera video shows that Brooks appeared cooperative as the officers questioned him for more than 25 minutes.

After Brooks allegedly failed a field sobriety test, he struggled with the officers as they tried to arrest him, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said. The bureau is investigating the shooting.

During the struggle, Brooks grabbed one of the officer’s stun guns and was running away with it. While running, he appeared to turn around and point the weapon at police before he was shot twice in the back, according to officials. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a news conference in June that Brooks “never presented himself as a threat” and appeared “almost jovial.” He said Brooks followed every instruction from the officers and was never informed that he was under arrest for driving under the influence.

After he was shot, more than two minutes passed when medical aid was not provided, Howard said. During that time, according to the district attorney, Rolfe kicked Brooks’ body and Brosnan stood on Brooks’ shoulders.

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