The city of Atlanta has agreed to pay $1 million to Rayshard Brooks’ family to settle a civil case it filed after the Black man was fatally shot by police during an encounter at a Wendy’s parking lot in June 2020, a spokesperson for the law firm representing Brooks’ family announced, per CNN.
“The family of Rayshard Brooks is pleased to have reached a settlement with the city of Atlanta that resolves their civil case. 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,” attorneys L. Chris Stewart, Justin Miller, Dianna Lee, Brian Spears, Jeff Filipotis, and Wingo Smith said in a statement after the settlement on Monday.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Brooks, 27, was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer during an altercation at a Wendy’s parking lot on June 12, 2020. The officer, identified as Garrett Rolfe, opened fire on Brooks after he got into a physical altercation with him and another colleague officer as they were trying to arrest him for DUI (Driving Under the Influence). The encounter was captured on bodycam footage as well as surveillance video from Wendy’s and cellphone videos from bystanders.
Brooks had attempted to run away from officers Rolfe and Devin Brosnan after he broke free from them and grabbed the latter’s taser, prosecutors said. Rolfe shot Brooks twice in the back after the 27-year-old turned and discharged the taser at him as he was fleeing. Brooks later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
The Black man’s death sparked protests in Atlanta and other locations in the United States, with people condemning the officers’ use of excessive and deadly force. His killing also came as the country was trying to quell the protests that ensued after George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Brooks was killed just a few weeks after Floyd’s murder.
“There is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a press conference following Brooks’ killing. “I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force.”
In the wake of the fatal encounter, the Atlanta Police Department fired Rolfe and placed Brosnan on administrative leave. Erika Shields, who was the Atlanta Police Chief at the time, also resigned. But last year, Rolfe was reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board after it determined the police department failed to follow the city code when it dismissed him from the force.
The two officers were also charged in connection with Brooks’ killing. Rolfe’s charges included felony murder, aggravated assault, violations of oath of office, and criminal damage to property. Brosnan, on the other hand, was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath, CNN reported.
But a Georgia special prosecutor announced in August that the charges against the officers were going to be dismissed after it was determined their actions were justified as they were responding to a deadly threat.
“While we are disappointed that prosecutors didn’t pursue a criminal case against the officers involved in Mr. Brooks’ death, we continue to hold out hope that the Dept. of Justice will intervene in this matter,” the attorneys for Brooks’ family also said in their statement.