Hours after the charges were announced yesterday against two Atlanta police officers in the killing of 27-year-old Rashard Brooks at an Atlanta fast-food restaurant, the Atlanta Police Department said an unusual number of officers called out sick from the late shift.
Fulton County District attorney Paul Howard charged ex-police officer with 11 felony counts including felony murder on Wednesday. Howard said that Brooks at the time of his death did not pose a threat to the officers and that it is against Atlanta PD’s code of conduct for them to fire any weapon, whether it be a taser or a gun at a suspect who is running.
“We have also concluded that Rolfe was aware that the taser in Brooks’ possession, it was fired twice, and once it’s fired twice it presented no danger to him or to any other persons,” Howard said.
Rolfe along with former officer Devin Bronsan engaged Brooks for 41 minutes and 17 seconds that night outside the Wendy’s on University Ave. According to DA Howard, not once did they inform Brooks that he was under arrest and the 27-year-old was cooperative with them throughout.
“During that 2 minutes and 12 seconds, Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks as he laid on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life,” Howard said. “Officer Brosnan actually stood on Mr. Brooks shoulder.”
After the charges were announced the Atlanta Police Department experienced officers walking off the job and that they were experiencing an unusually high number of calling off sick on Wednesday evening’s shifts.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the city was still safely covered, and she hopes officers honor their commitment to protect and serve. Bottoms said on CNN that many of the department’s partners had been notified just in case they needed to call others in but that the true test would be today, Thursday, June 18.
“If we have officers that don’t want bad officers weeded out the force then that’s another conversation we need to have,” Bottoms said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.