ATLANTA - In the midst of a tumultuous summer of protests responding law enforcement killings of Black Americans, an incident in Atlanta caught the nation’s attention.
Brooks was shot dead by Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe, who was performing a DUI test with another officer after Brooks was found sleeping in his car while in line at Wendy’s on University Avenue. Police said Brooks attempted to evade arrest and the officers attempted to deploy their Taser multiple times, but when they finally did, it was ineffective.
Brooks took a Taser away from the officer, police said, and then began to run away and eventually was able to use the Taser against the officer. Rolfe allegedly shot Brooks.
The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the U.S. following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Atlanta was among U.S. cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.
Rayshard Brooks killed by an Atlanta Police Department officer after evading arrest
June 12, 2020
At around 10:30 p.m Atlanta Police Department Officer Devin Brosnan responded to a 911 call about a man who was asleep in his car while in line at the Wendy’s located on University Avenue.
Video shows an officer wake Brooks up and ask him to move to a parking space.
Body camera video shows Rolfe arrived at the scene minutes later. He also spoke with Brooks and then the video shows a DUI test being conducted. Later, Officer Rolfe asks Brooks to perform a breath test, after which Officer Rolfe began to place him under arrest.
That is when the scuffle took between Brooks and the officers began.
Brooks was shot and killed. The Fulton County Medical Examiner told FOX 5 that Brooks' cause of death was from two gunshot wounds to his back that "injured organs and caused significant blood loss."
Rolfe’s lawyers later said he feared for his and others’ safety and was justified in shooting Brooks. Rolfe opened fire after hearing a sound "like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him," apparently from the Taser.
Atlanta Police Chief resigns
June 13, 2020
Less than 24 hours after the shooting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she had accepted the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.
"I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force," Bottoms said.
She said it was Shields’ decision to step aside and that she would remain with the city in an undetermined role.
Rodney Bryant, now the city’s police chief, assumed the role of acting chief.
Protestors set fire to University Avenue Wendy’s
Jun 13, 2020
The night following Brooks’ death, shortly after 9:30 p.m., FOX 5 Atlanta confirmed Wendy's restaurant was set on fire.
Police identified several suspects linked to the arson in the days that followed. Police arrested Natalie White in connection to the arson more than one week later. Days after, Chisom Kingston and John Wade were both charged with first-degree arson in connection to the incident and were booked into the Fulton County jail.
Rolfe terminated, Brosnan placed on leave
June 14, 2020
The Atlanta Police Department terminated Rolfe following Shields’ resignation.
Brosnan was placed on administrative duty. Rolfe had worked for the department since October 2013, and Brosnan since September 2018.
DA charges APD officers
June 17, 2020
Fulton County DA Paul Howard filed 11 charges, including felony murder and multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon for Officer Garrett Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan faces 3 charges including aggravated assault.
Both officers turned themselves in the following day. Brosnan turned himself around 10:30 p.m. on June 18, Fulton County Jail records show. Rolfe surrendered within five hours later.
Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant addressed morale at Atlanta Police Department
June 21, 2020
Reports surfaced of a wave of resignations and sick calls at the Atlanta Police Department. Bryant said many officers are anxious about the current climate of law enforcement.
He said that it was "factual" that since the Fulton County District Attorney filed charges,
"The explanation for calling out sick vary and include officers questioning their training, officers being challenged and attacked, and unease about officers seeing their colleagues criminally charged so quickly," he said.
Rayshard Brooks’ funeral
June 23, 2020
Brooks was eulogized at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, 11 days after his death.
Senior Pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock, elected Georgia’s first Black U.S. Senator the following January, gave the eulogy.
"Rayshard was not a member of our church but he, and his loved ones, are a part of our family," Warnock said. "We seek to embrace them, comfort them and walk beside them in the days ahead."
8-year-old Secoria Turner killed by armed militia near Wendy’s site
July 4, 2020
Protestors had recently erected illegal barricades, according to authorities, encircling the nearby Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed.
KIPPS WAYS Academy student Secoria Turner was riding in a car with her mother and an adult friend when they turned off the interstate onto University Avenue, police said. When the driver attempted to enter a liquor store parking lot on the 1200 block of Pryor Road, police said a group of armed individuals blocked the entrance and later fired shots into the car, hitting Secoria Turner.
She died following treatment at Atlanta Medical Center.
"They say black lives matter," said the victim's father, Secoriya Williamson. "You killed your own. You killed your own this time just because of a barrier. They killed my baby because she crossed the barrier and made a U-turn."
Kemp declares state of emergency after violent Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta
July 6, 2020
Peaceful protests near the site of Brooks’ death took a violent turn when armed vigilanties erected barricades at the desecrated fast food restaurant’s remains.
Gov. Brian Kemp declared a State of Emergency for Atlanta and has authorized the utilization of up to 1,000 troops from the Georgia Army National Guard.
Bottoms said she did not agree it was necessary to deploy the National Guard in the city.
Teen charged in murder of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner
July 12, 2020
After releasing images of persons of interest, police arrested and booked 19-year-old Julian Conley for the shooting death of Secoria Turner.
Conly faces felony murder.
Rolfe sues Atlanta mayor, city over firing
Aug. 5, 2020
Rolfe's attorneys filed a petition for him to get his job back, saying that the City of Atlanta "willfully and blatantly failed to abide" by city ordinances designed to give employees due process, such as notice and the opportunity to be heard, before they can be fired.
That same day, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office asked a judge to revoke Rolfe's bond, arguing he went out of state on a vacation.
GBI completes investigation into death of Rayshard Brooks
Sept. 28, 2020
The GBI told FOX 5 that it turned the findings of its investigation over to the Fulton County District Attorney.
Paul Howard, then Fulton County's district attorney, was under some scrutiny and had already been accused of unethical conduct by Rolfe's attorney. They argued in court Howard unethically made public statements that would bring "condemnation of the accused" or prejudice potential jurors.
Fulton DA requests to transfer Rayshard Brooks case to Georgia Attorney General
Jan 28, 2021
Newly-elected Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a letter requesting to transfer the case against Rolfe to the Office of the Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.
Longtime Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard was beaten during a runoff against Willis. She had previously worked in Howard's office for 16 years. Willis requested a special prosecutor in a letter to Carr because the actions of her predecessor "raise significant doubt that it is ethically appropriate for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office to handle these cases."
Carr denied the request for a special prosecutor in February.
In a letter to Willis, he wrote:
"While I understand the concerns that you have raised, those concerns relate to a potential violation of a rule of the State Bar of Georgia by your predecessor and a potential criminal investigation of your predecessor. Both appear fairly obviously to be matters that are personal to your predecessor in office and that do not pertain to you or your office. Therefore, from the concerns raised in your letter, it appears abundantly clear that your office is not disqualified from these cases by interest or relationship. This office will not be proceeding to appoint a prosecutor for these cases. In accordance with the constitutional and statutory duties of the district attorney, responsibility for these cases remain with you and your office."
Board reverses Rolfe’s termination
May 5, 2021
The Atlanta Civil Service Board concluded after reviewing the case that Rolfe was not afforded his right to due process and revoked his dismissal from the Atlanta Police Department.
"Due to the City’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the Board concludes the Appellant was not afforded his right to due process. Therefore, the Board GRANTS the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD."
Judge disqualifies Fulton County District Attorney
June 4, 2021
Willis was disqualified from prosecuting the defendants in the death of Rayshard Brooks due to the fact they might be called as witnesses, a judge ruled.
The order validated what Willis had said earlier, that her office cannot prosecute those cases.
Family of Secoriea Turner sues city of Atlanta, Wendy's for her death
June 7, 2021
The parents of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner announced that they filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Atlanta.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant and Atlanta City Council Member Joyce Shepard were listed in the lawsuit. Wendy's is also a defendant.
"None of what we are doing will bring our baby back. We shouldn't be here. We deserve justice" Secoria's mother Charmaine Turner said
The Associated Press contributed to these reports.