Atlanta Police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks charged with felony murder

Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's parking lot, has been charged with felony murder and other charges.

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Garrett Rolfe, the ex-Atlanta police officer who fired the shots that killed Rayshard Brooks on June 12 in an Atlanta Wendy's parking lot, has bonded out of jail.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick issued a $500,000 bond on Tuesday with several conditions. Rolfe must wear an ankle monitor, and he must adhere to a curfew set from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. He cannot possess weapons, including guns, rifles, and knives. He is to have no contact with the Brooks family, and no contact with any Atlanta police officers. He also must not tamper with any evidence.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's office spent part of their allotted time discussing Rolfe's cell phone which the state alleged had conversations between Rolfe and four other Atlanta Police officers immediately after the shooting.

“Despite evidence presented at the hearing by the State that showed that former Officer Rolfe engaged in several text message conversations with Atlanta Police Officers shortly after the incident, the Court did not require Rolfe to turn over the password to his cell phone," D.A. Howard said. "However, the Court did remind Rolfe and his counsel that they are not allowed to disturb or destroy evidence contained in the cellphone.”

During the hearing, the judge heard an emotional victim impact statement from the widow of Brooks. Tomeka Miller, who became so emotional that at one point she had to briefly step away, said she can't sleep at night and explained why she would not be able to handle Rolfe being granted bond.

"If he’s released ... I don’t know where my mental state would be. I can’t even go outside of my house now because so many people say hateful things," Miller said.

“My husband did not deserve to die and I should not have to live in fear while waiting for the man who killed my husband to be tried in court,” Miller said. “My husband wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t deserve to die.”

Judge Barwick said some may see the amount of the bond as excessive, so she broke it down by charge: 

  • Felony murder: $250,000
  • Violation of Oath by Public Officer: $20,000 
  • Violation of Oath by Public Officer: $20,000 
  • Violation of Oath by Public Officer: $20,000 
  • Violation of Oath by Public Officer: $20,000 
  • Criminal damage to property: $10,000 
  • Aggravated assault: $20,000
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon: $35,000
  • Aggravated assault with deadly weapon: $35,000
  • Aggravated assault with deadly weapon: $35,000
  • Aggravated assault with deadly weapon: $35,000

Howard's office said the bond amount, "is one of the largest in recent Fulton County history."

The attorneys for the family of Rayshard Brooks, L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, issued this statement following the hearing: 

While the family of Rayshard Brooks is disappointed that his killer was granted bond today, they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard.

Rather than looking at this process as a series of 'wins' or 'losses,' it's imperative that we continue to push for systemic change within our criminal justice system. 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.

We will be diligent in our pursuit of justice for this family and will do everything in our power to make sure that Rayshard Brooks did not lose his life in vain.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Brooks had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-thru of a Wendy's on University Avenue in Atlanta. The GBI said when officers arrived, they talked with Brooks and gave him a sobriety test, which they said he failed.

The shooting death, captured on multiple cameras, showed Brooks struggling with the officers before he wrestled away a stun gun. Brooks then began to run. The GBI said Brooks made it just a little way before he allegedly turned towards officers with the stun gun raised and Rolfe shot him twice in the back, killing him.

The shooting set off a chain of events that included the resignation of a police chief, dozens of peaceful protests, along with some rioting across the city which resulted in the Wendy's restaurant, where Brooks was shot, being burned down.

Rolfe was terminated shortly after the incident. Officer Devin Brosnan, the second officer involved in the incident, faces three charges including aggravated assault. 

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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