Atlanta City Council approves $1 million settlement with widow of Rayshard Brooks

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a $1 million settlement with the widow of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer following a struggle in June 2020. 

The shooting came just weeks after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer and ignited protests throughout America. 

Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, was appointed as a special prosecutor in Brooks’ case. Skandalakis determined in August that the use of deadly force was “objectively reasonable,” saying that he doesn’t think race played a role in the shooting. 

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“This isn’t one of those cases,” he said. “This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt and, you know, unfortunately, by his actions, this is what happened.”

Brooks’ family, meanwhile, said they were disappointed that no charges were brought against the officers. 

“This grieving family has been through so much during this process. Although the children of Mr. Brooks have lost their father, settling the case will undoubtedly assist them with future plans as they come of age,” lawyers for the family said in a statement on Monday. 

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Police were called to a Wendy’s parking lot on June 12, 2020, about a man sleeping in the drive-thru lane. 

Body camera footage shows the officers calmly speaking with Brooks for about 40 minutes, but the encounter took a turn when they tried to arrest him for drinking and driving. A struggle then ensued and Brooks grabbed one of the officer’s tasers and fired it at him as he was running away. 

The officer then pulled out his gun and shot Brooks twice, killing him. 

Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, was fired the day after the incident. He was then reinstated in May 2021, after the Atlanta Civil Service Board determined that the city failed to follow its policies on disciplinary actions. 

Five days after the incident, former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced warrants against Rolfe and the other officer involved, Devin Brosnan, but the special prosecutor said in August that he would dismiss those charges after his investigation. 

Both officers were still employed by the Atlanta Police Department and on administrative duty when the special prosecutor’s decision came down in August. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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