FULTON COUNTY (CBS46) — A judge has dismissed Fulton County DA Fani Willis from prosecuting Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe in the death of Rayshard Brooks.
This was Willis' latest attempt at recusal from this case, in which she has shared concerns about her predecessor, Paul Howard, and his handling of the case. She had been unsuccessful in previous attempts.
She told CBS46 last year that "Rayshard Brooks' family wants justice...they want a conviction [of Rolfe]," and she "had concerns about what she may have to clean up in the case."
Willis had asked Georgia's Attorney General to reassign the case, but that request was denied as well. AG Carr's office said that while Willis did raise concerns relating to the Brooks case and Howard, "They do not relate to you and do not relate to the Office of the District Attorney of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit."
On Friday, it was Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher who finally agreed with Willis, and granted her the recusal.
Officer Rolfe was reinstated to the Atlanta Police Department in May by the city's Civil Service Board. Rolfe was fired after he shot Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot last June.
One day later, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms fired Rolfe, saying at the time, "I don't believe this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer."
Less than a week later, then-DA Howard charged Rolfe with Felony Murder.
While Rolfe is back on the force, he is not patrolling the streets, he is on administrative leave.
A substitute prosecutor will now be assigned to the case.
The attorneys representing Rayshard Brooks released a statement following the judge's order saying:
“We recently learned of the judge's order that formally disqualifies Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting the case against Brooks' killer. The case will now be returned to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and we are hopeful that he will quickly identify another prosecutor who will try the case in a vigorous and expeditious manner.
The family of Rayshard Brooks has been through so much during this process. The numerous stops and starts have been gut-wrenching and have made it even more difficult for this grieving family to find peace.
We will continue to be fierce advocates for Rayshard Brooks' widow Tomika Miller and their children as we seek every avenue for justice."
DA Fani Willis released the following statement:
“I appreciate Judge Brasher’s careful consideration of the difficult issues presented by this matter, and I expect that this will allow the case to move forward in a manner consistent with achieving a just result that all parties will have confidence in.”
You can read the full Order of Disqualification from Judge Brasher below: