- Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, was killed by white police officer Garrett Rolfe in Atlanta on Friday, June 12.
- Rolfe fired three times at Brooks as he ran away, hitting him twice in the back.
- Donate to Brooks' family, sign petitions demanding justice, and donate to bail funds for protestors below.
Rayshard Brooks planned to go skating with his oldest daughter on Saturday, June 13, to celebrate her birthday. He didn't make it: On Friday evening, he was killed by white police officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks twice in the back as he tried to run away.
On June 12, Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, fell asleep in his car in a Wendy's drive-through in Atlanta, as the Guardian reports. Police were called, and Brooks co-operated with a sobriety test, chatting to Officers Rolfe and Devin Brosnan about his daughter's birthday. The officers patted Brooks down, and knew he was unarmed.
"I watched the interaction with Mr Brooks and it broke my heart," Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on CNN, according to the Guardian. "This was not confrontational. This was a guy that you were rooting for."
According to footage taken by a bystander, Brooks struggled when the officers attempted to arrest him, the Guardian reports, before appearing to grab a Taser from Brosnan and running away. Brooks appeared to fire the Taser once behind him as he ran, pursued by Rolfe, according to the New York Times, but the darts did not land anywhere near the police officer. Even before Brooks pointed the Taser, Rolfe had reached for his handgun; he fired at the fleeing Brooks three times, hitting him twice in the back. The father of four died in hospital following surgery.
Tomika Miller, Brooks' widow, told CNN that Rolfe did not have to shoot her husband. "I wouldn't have used a gun," she said, saying the officers could have tackled him or let him run. "I don't think it was necessary to shoot." Mayor Bottoms also said Rolfe's use of deadly force was unjustified, as CNN reports. "While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a distinction between what you can do and what you should do," she said.
The Fulton county medical examiner declared Brooks' death a homicide after an autopsy on Sunday, June 14, as the Guardian reports. Atlanta police chief Erika Shields resigned on Saturday, June 13, the day after Brooks' death, while Rolfe has been fired and Brosnan has been placed on administrative leave. Neither have been charged with Brooks' murder.
Brooks' widow Miller told CNN that her husband "always kept [her] spirits up" and "pushed [her] to be better," allowing her to "grow into the woman [she is] today." She has questions for Rolfe and Brosnan. "Do they feel sorry for what they took away?" she said. "If they had the chance to do it again, would they do it the same way or would they do it totally different?"
How can I help demand justice for Rayshard Brooks?
Sign a petition calling for justice for Rayshard Brooks here.
Donate to a fundraiser for Brooks' family here.
Donate to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund for protestors here.
Split a donation between bail funds across the country here.
Donate to Black Lives Matter here.
Sign the Black Lives Matter petition to #DefundThePolice here.
Donate to the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of Black organizations across the U.S., here.
Black Lives Matter
Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.
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