Authorities in Georgia ruled Sunday that the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks outside an Atlanta Wendy’s was a homicide.
Brooks, 27, died after he was shot twice in the back on June 12, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement. Brooks was shot last Friday night after a confrontation with two Atlanta police officers in the parking lot of the fast-food restaurant.
Police had been summoned there on a report of a man sleeping in his car in the drive-through.
Brooks struggled with the officers after they administered a field sobriety test and attempted to take him into custody. Surveillance footage appears to show Brooks running away from the officers with a stun gun that he’d taken from one of them, said Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
While running, Brooks appeared to turn around and point the weapon at police, Reynolds said
“At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr. Brooks there on the parking lot, and he goes down.”
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said Brooks should not have faced deadly force because he appeared to have a stun gun.
“Of extreme concern in the murder of Rayshard Brooks is the fact that he was shot in the back multiple times while fleeing,” said Stewart and law partner Justin Miller, in a statement Saturday.
Atlanta Police Chief Erikia Shields resigned over the shooting, saying in a statement that it is time “it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.” Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Brooks, was fired. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative duty.
The shooting prompted protests Saturday night near the Wendy’s, which was set on fire.
Brooks’ death comes amid widespread protests over the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.