Officer morale drops, sick calls increase following charges in Rayshard Brooks shooting

Retired DeKalb County Police Major K.D. Johnson told FOX 5's Portia Bruner he's been hearing from Atlanta police officers nonstop since Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced felony charges against the two law officers connected to the fatal June 12 shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

"The police officers are like you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. I have heard that there have been some call outs and some refusing to respond to calls," said Johnson, who worked for DeKalb County for 25 years.

Johnson said the decision to charge former officer Garrett Rolfe with 11 charges including felony murder and officer Devin Brosnan with aggravated assault makes most officers fear they could be charged if they have to use deadly force. He said many officers are torn over calling out sick.

"They took an oath, so when you call out sick, your fellow officer is possibly put in danger because he or she will not have the proper backup. So, you're gonna have some officers that are going to go to work, but are they going to be proactive? When the police officers don't know what to do, they are just going to sit and do nothing and the public is going to be at risk," said Johnson, who worked at DeKalb County's South Precinct for years before retiring in 2019.

FOX 5 has received several tips indicating officers walked out or called out on the night shift on Thursday. APD has not confirmed that information, but, a spokesman said earlier in the day, they've had a higher than usual number of sick calls. In this tweet to the public, the indicated, "The Atlanta Police Department is able to respond effectively to 911 call. Please don't hesitate to call if you have an emergency."

“The officers I've spoken to say they have no direction from the new leadership and that's a concern because they need to know who's got their back. We need police. Trust me, you don't what to find out what happens when we don't have police," said Johnson.