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Thread: Rayshard Brooks, (27) was shot and killed by Atlanta Police

  1. #26
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    WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Chris Stewart is taking on a role that is becoming more familiar in the current civil rights movement, attorney for families who have lost a loved one in a police encounter.

    Like Attorney Benjamin Crump, Stewart will be speaking at Friday's Commitment March.

    Stewart and his law firm represent the families of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.

    Joined with Brooks' widow, Tomika Miller, Stewart shared a preview of his message with 7 On Your Side's Michelle Marsh.

    "This is probably one of the few chances when civil rights can change this country and we can't let that moment pass by," says Stewart.

    The families of Brooks, George Floyd and recently announced, family Jacob Blake will also speak at Friday's march.
    Miller says she has never spoken before a large crowd, but Friday will be speaking steps from where Dr. King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

    "I'm excited because I feel like I am going to touch a lot of people and get them to see truly what having faith is all about, and I get to see other families going through some of the same things I am and support them," says Miller.

    Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer just weeks after George Floyd's killing.

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    Two additional arson suspects have been arrested in connection with the fire at the Wendy?s where Rayshard Brooks was shot by Atlanta police.

    They are accused of burning down the fast-food restaurant on July 13, the night after Brooks was shot and later died.

    A female named Natalie White was previously arrested and released on bond in connection with the fire.

    The men are identified as 33 year old John Wesley Wade and 23 year old Chisom Kingston.

    According to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, Kingston is charged with Arson in the 1st Degree and was granted a $10K bond Thursday. He is required to wear an ankle monitor.

    Wade is also charged with Arson in the 1st Degree, yet has a hold from the City of East Point Police. He is scheduled for a first appearance Friday at noon at the Fulton County Courthouse. Wade is expected to appear via virtual video conference.

    Niles Fitch, who stars in ?This Is Us,? recently broke his silence about the fatal shooting of his cousin Rayshard Brooks, an Atlanta man who died after an altercation with police.

    GBI wraps up Rayshard Brooks shooting probe
    Fitch, who is a native Atlantan, has played the role of young Randall Pearson for four seasons on the Emmy Award-winning show. In a recent interview on FoxSoul?s ?The Mix? promoting the new season of the NBC drama, the 19-year-old spoke about Brooks' death.

    Atlanta native and 'This Is Us' actor to be Disney's first live-action black prince
    ?I?m from Atlanta and I haven?t said anything publicly, but my cousin was Rayshard Brooks,? Fitch said during the interview on ?The Mix.? ?I remember watching the video and I couldn?t see who it is or anything, and I remember being like damn that?s crazy and I was a little numb to it and I kept it moving.?

    Fitch?s mother later explained to him that the victim was his cousin.

    ?It really set on me how bad it has been and how desensitized we are,? the actor said. ?It was a tough time but we got through it; you have to get through it. That is the only thing you can do.?

    Brooks became a part of the national conversation about police brutality when he was shot by police in the parking lot of an Atlanta Wendy?s. The 27-year-old had been found intoxicated and sleeping in his car in the restaurant?s drive-thru. Once awakened, Brooks and the Atlanta police officers had a congenial exchange. After police attempted to arrest him, an altercation ensued involving a Taser. The conflict ended with the father being shot. He was hospitalized but died.

    Several protests took place in Atlanta and abroad following his death. In regards to a protest in Los Angeles, Fitch said he found it difficult to support demonstrations because they had become ?a show.?

    ?A bunch of influencers that I know, that be at parties... saying the (racial slur), treating Black people bad, girls that fetishize Black men now being like ?Black Lives Matter.? It really took the spirit of ?I?m protesting? out of it.?

  3. #28
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    ATLANTA — A former neighbor is coming forward to support the former Atlanta police officer charged with the deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

    Garrett Rolfe, a white man, is charged with murder for shooting Brooks, a Black man, in a Wendy’s parking lot in southwest Atlanta in June. Rolfe was trying to arrest Brooks for driving drunk when Brooks snatched his Taser and ran away.

    An African American entrepreneur who used to live next door to Rolfe sent a message on Twitter to Channel 2′s Michael Seiden in August. He wanted to speak about his experience with his former neighbor but wanted his identity concealed.

    “What happened was tragic. I’m not going to sit here and say it wasn’t, but it’s definitely not racially motivated. It had nothing to do with race,” he said.

    It’s been four months since the body camera video of the deadly encounter between Rolfe and Brooks sparked protests and unrest across Atlanta. “I’ve probably watched that bodycam probably close to 40 different times. I still can’t wrap my mind around,” Rolfe’s former neighbor said.

    “We lived two doors down from him,” he said.

    He decided to speak out because he was disturbed by how his friend is being portrayed on social media.

    “I just hate the whole fact that he’s being hung out to dry. Some racist police officer that didn’t shoot in self-defense,” he said.

    He said he met Rolfe a year ago at their Buckhead apartment complex, where Rolfe served as the community officer. They talked weekly. He also told Channel 2 that Rolfe always answered his calls for help, especially when dealing with noisy neighbors.

    “He was one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I think people are ready to jump to conclusions without finding out the facts and being put in the situation, especially with everything going on with the police right now,” he said.

    For many, this shooting is another example of an unjust killing of an unarmed Black man. Two days after Brooks' death, the NAACP issued a statement, writing in part: “Rayshard Brooks did not deserve to die Friday night. The actions of the Atlanta Police Department underline a systemic issue that has plagued the Black community within this country for centuries.”

    “I can’t say it was or wasn’t,” L. Chris Stewart, the attorney who is representing Brooks' widow Tomika Miller said.

    She delivered a tearful plea in June, saying: “It’s just heartbreaking to even hear that because it’s the truth, and I just wish he could’ve made it. I wish they would’ve had sympathy or compassion."

    Stewart said while it’s unclear if this shooting was racially motivated, some things are clear.

    “There’s less value in pulling the trigger when the person running away is African-American," Stewart said. “I don’t know exactly what was going through his mind at that moment other than improper training. It just wasn’t a justified shooting.”

    Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Rolfe with murder before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed its independent investigation, which is routine anytime an officer shoots a suspect.

    Officer Devin Brosnan, who knocked on Brooks' window after finding him passed out in the Wendy’s drive-thru, is also charged in Brooks' death.

    “I think the video tells you a lot," Stewart said. “They can’t say we couldn’t let him walk home. He was commanded to drive a vehicle. He was polite. He talked to them for a long time.”

    Stewart said Brooks' widow wants Rolfe to stay in jail until his trial. But Rolfe’s supporters believe he’s already been convicted in the court of public opinion.

    “He didn’t shoot anybody based on, out of fear of his race,” said Rolfe’s former neighbor.

    He said he hopes Rolfe receives a fair trial.

    “I would want somebody to do the same for me. Me, being who I am, I get that going on TV and saying this stuff may have a little backlash, but it’s the truth," the neighbor said.

    There is a newly elected district attorney after Fanni Willis defeated Paul Howard in a runoff. Stewart said he believes she will proceed with the case. At this point, there is no trial date.

    Rolfe’s legal team is fighting to get him his job back with Atlanta police.

    Rolfe’s attorneys sent us this statement:

    “We are not surprised by the statements of Garrett’s former neighbor as everyone we’ve interviewed has said positive things about him. Both personally and professionally, Garrett lives his life with honor and treats others with respect. Garrett worked with a diverse group of officers within the City of Atlanta Police Department and at the time of the incident he was in the process of attempting to buy a home through the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Secure Neighborhoods program so that he could enhance his engagement with the citizens of the City of Atlanta that he served. Garrett’s actions on June 12, 2020 were legally justified and we expect that he will be fully exonerated.”

  4. #29
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    ATLANTA — On the steps outside of Atlanta City Hall, a crowd of Atlanta-based attorneys gathered Monday representing individuals injured during violent arrests, and the families of people killed by Atlanta officers.

    The attorneys said often the families will receive public support from the mayor's office or other elected city officials following a case of police brutality, but the tone changes when the parties enter the courtroom.
    "What we have seen is city councilmembers marching in protest, we've seen elected officials coming to funerals but what we have not seen is justice for these clients," attorney Mawuli Davis said.

    During Monday's news conference, the case of Caine Rogers was discussed.

    Rogers was shot and killed in 2016, by then APD Officer James Burns. The city of Atlanta fired Burns following the shooting, but attorneys for the Rogers claim the city has delayed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city.

    Attorneys argued the problem is a result of the city not insuring its officers, which would assist in paying large settlements following cases of police brutality.

    A city spokesman sent 11Alive the following statement in response: While the City does not comment on pending claims or litigation, it is important to correct the record on the City’s practices regarding insurance coverage and the representation of City employees. For the past several decades, the City has been self-insured, including the City’s vehicles. If the City used private insurance coverage, it is doubtful that coverage would include police officers who have acted outside of City policies. City employees, including police officers, are represented by the City if they are sued as a result of actions taken in the course of their employment.

    RELATED: These are some of the unresolved police shooting cases in Atlanta

    Attorneys said as they wait years in some cases to reach settlements, other cities are able to resolve civil lawsuits in a matter of months.

    Recently the city of Louisville agreed to pay Breonna Taylor's family $12 million after she was killed during a raid in March involving Louisville police officers.

    "Breonna Taylor's family has already gotten some justice," attorney Shean Williams said. "We've got families here that have been years waiting for the city of Atlanta to step up."

    "A lot of cities now after George Floyd are trying to push to insure their officers and have liability coverage," attorney Chris Stewart said. "How are we not leading that charge? Don't let the city attorney come back and say, 'oh everyone will start suing.' We are already suing."

    RELATED: Louisville mayor, family attorney announce $12M settlement with Breonna Taylor's family

    In 2006, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed when Atlanta officers mistakenly served a no-knock warrant at her home. Williams said he represented Johnston's family. He said it took four years to reach a $4.9 million settlement with the city, but then they needed to continue to wait to be paid.

    "That settlement came out of the taxpayer's money," Williams said. "They didn't have insurance, they had to pay me over time because we don't have a place for that."

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