The former Atlanta police officer charged with felony murder in the killing of Rayshard Brooks earlier this month was granted bond with conditions on Tuesday, meaning he will have limited freedom as his case proceeds.
Garrett Rolfe will face a 6 p.m. nightly curfew, has to surrender his passport, and cannot have contact with Atlanta police officers, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick said. He will also have an ankle monitor. Bond was set at $500,000.
Rolfe, seen on security video opening fire on Brooks after the 27-year-old ran off with a police Taser, was fired and faces charges including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property and violation of oath.
His attorney argues the shooting was justified and that Rolfe was defending his life as well as the mortal safety of others in the area, even as Brooks family attorney L. Chris Stewart has said a stray police round struck a third-party’s occupied vehicle at the Wendy’s restaurant parking lot where Brooks was fatally shot.
During today’s hearing, Tomika Miller, Rayshard Brooks’ widow, gave a tearful statement, asking the court to deny bond: “My husband did not deserve to die. And I should not have to wait in fear while waiting for the person who killed my husband to be tried in court.”
Stewart and fellow attorney Justin Miller said in a joint statement that while the family was disappointed, “they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard.”
“It’s imperative that we continue to push for systemic change within our criminal justice system,” the duo said. “From hate crime laws being passed to increasing oversight of members of law enforcement, our job is to ensure that positive change comes from this tragic situation.”
Brooks was gunned down as he ran from Rolfe and fellow Officer Devin Brosnan, who has been placed on administrative leave and faces charges of aggravated assault and violation of oath as he cooperates with investigators. Brooks was shot twice in the back and his death has been ruled a homicide.
The victim was questioned for more than 25 minutes about allegedly driving under the influence that night. Police were called to the Wendy’s after Brooks was seen apparently sleeping behind the wheel of a vehicle in the restaurant’s drive-thru.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Howard said that after the shooting, Rolfe said, “I got him.” Howard alleges that Brosnan stood on Brooks’ body after the shooting and that Rolfe kicked the victim’s body.
The killing sparked renewed protests over racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Brooks is Black. Both of the men charged are white.
Brooks was the father of three daughters and a stepson.