Rayshard Brooks shooting: Atlanta City Council votes to approve $1 million settlement to family of man shot dead by police

ATLANTE — The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to approve a $1 million settlement payment for the family of Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot by a police officer.

Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was shot following a confrontation with two white police officers in June 2020. The shooting came just weeks after George Floyd was killed under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. It sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta against police brutality and racial injustice.

A special prosecutor appointed to look into the case announced in August that the use of lethal force was “objectively reasonable”. Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Georgia Board of Attorneys, said he would not press charges against Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, and Officer Devin Brosnan.

Lawyers for the Brooks family say they remain disappointed that no charges have been brought against the officers, but they said Monday the Brooks family is happy to have reached an agreement with the city. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in September 2021 by Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, and her estate.

The city council voted 15-0 Monday to approve the settlement.

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“This grieving family has been through so much during this process. Although Mr. Brooks’ children have lost their father, the settlement of the case will no doubt help them in their future endeavors as they become adults,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement.

They also said they “continue to hope that the Department of Justice will intervene in this matter.”

Police responded on June 12, 2020 to complaints of a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s restaurant. Police body camera video shows the two officers having a quiet conversation with Brooks for about 40 minutes.

Then, when officers told Brooks he had been too drunk to drive and attempted to arrest him, Brooks resisted in a struggle captured by the dash cam. Brooks grabbed a Taser from one of the officers and fled, firing it at Rolfe as he ran. Rolfe fired his gun, and an autopsy revealed that Brooks had been shot twice in the back.

Then-police chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after the shooting and protesters set fire to Wendy’s, which was later demolished.

Rolfe was fired the day after Brooks died, but his dismissal was overturned in May 2021 by the Atlanta Public Service Board. The board found that the city failed to follow its own disciplinary procedures.

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