The former Atlanta police officer who was charged with the killing of Rayshard Brooks has been released from jail on bond.
On Tuesday, a judge granted Garrett Rolfe a $500,000 bond despite the emotional pleas from Brooks’ widow.
Rolfe was fired from the Atlanta Police Department after he shot Brooks in the back during a DUI stop outside of a Wendy’s on June 12. Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, were attempting to arrest 27-year-old Brooks, who had fallen asleep in his car and failed a sobriety test.
During the arrest a struggle ensued. Brooks grabbed Brosnan’s taser and fled. Rolfe opened fire, shooting Brooks in the back. Rolfe was arrested after the shooting and now faces felony murder and 11 other charges. Brosnan has been placed on administrative leave and charged with aggravated assault and oath violations.
Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, attended the bond hearing via video conference. She cried as she pleaded with the judge not to grant bond, saying Rolfe was a danger to the community.
“My husband did not deserve to die, and I should not live in fear while waiting for the man who killed my husband to be tried in court,” Miller said.
Miller described Brooks as a loving father and said he was killed on their daughter’s birthday.
“My life is completely turned upside down since this has happened,” Miller said. “I’ve been unable to sleep, eat, or even console my children.”
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick granted Rolfe’s bond and said the bond decision is “not the ultimate issue in the case as to whether this defendant is guilty of these charges.” Barwick ruled Rolfe is entitled to bond because he poses no flight risk or danger.
Rolfe attended the hearing via video conference but did not speak.
Prosecutors were seeking no bond, or a minimum bond of $1 million dollars with conditions if the judge chose to grant it. Barwick agreed to most of the requested conditions which included that Rolfe be required to wear an ankle monitor, obey a curfew, surrender his passport and any weapons, and have no contact with other officers or family members of the victim.
Barwick denied a request to compel Rolfe to turn over the passcode for his phone.
At the hearing, Rolfe’s lawyers asked the judge for a $50,000 bond, arguing that the ex-cop was acting in self-defense and had “no choice but to use deadly force.”
Fulton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Clinton Rucker said the shooting was not justified because Brooks “was not immediately a physical threat to Officer Rolfe in any way.”
“[Brooks] was running away,” Rucker said. “The Taser was not pointed at Officer Rolfe, and he presented no danger to officer Rolfe.”
He said the district attorney’s office has reviewed eight videos and spoken to eight witnesses, and that video evidence showed Rolfe kicking Brooks after Brooks was shot. Rucker also said a witness corroborated the kick, and that video showed the officers did not help Brooks for two minutes after the shooting.
“My contention is when you’re standing there watching a man gasp for breath, it doesn’t show me any good character that’s been alleged that you treat suspects with the utmost respect,” Rucker said.
Rolfe’s attorneys denied that Rolfe kicked Brooks.