“Mr. Brooks was not targeted because of his color.
He was detained because of his unlawful behavior.”
ALEXANDRIA, VA (Wednesday, June 24, 2020) – Garrett Rolfe, who was fired from the Atlanta Police Department and later charged with felony murder following the death of Rayshard Brooks earlier this month, will now be supported by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), its President Jason Johnson announced today.
LELDF is a national police advocacy organization that provides financial assistance to police officers wrongly charged with crimes for lawful actions taken in the line of duty. LELDF’s announcement today signifies that it has accepted this case to financially support Rolfe’s legal defense.
*** Jason Johnson is available TODAY to discuss the factors behind LELDF’s decision to represent Officer Rolfe via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Contact Ray Feldmann at information above to coordinate. ***
“From our review of the facts of this case, taking emotions and media sensationalism out of the equation, this shooting absolutely meets the threshold as justifiable use-of-deadly-force,” Johnson said today. “It is abundantly clear that Mr. Brooks was in possession of an officer’s Taser and attempted to fire it at one of the officers.”
Those facts show that Brooks apparently fell asleep behind the wheel of his car in a fast food restaurant drive-thru lane. After a complaint call, two APD officers – including Rolfe — were dispatched and encountered Brooks, who was now parked in the lot. A field sobriety test raised reasonable suspicion of Brooks being under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
The two officers, performing their sworn duty to enforce the law, attempted to take Brooks into custody. A violent and sustained struggle ensued. During that struggle, Brooks took possession of an officer’s Taser and attempted to run from the scene. Both officers ran after Brooks.
Restaurant security camera footage clearly shows that Brooks turned around and appeared to fire the Taser at the closest officer, who was less than 10 feet away.
In a matter of seconds, the targeted officer appeared to duck, collided with a parked vehicle, switched his own Taser to the other hand, drew his service weapon, and fired at Brooks, who later died of his injuries.
Additional facts of the incident are included on the LELDF website: https://www.policedefense.org/garrett-rolfe-atlanta-georgia-police-department/
“Is it tragic? Absolutely,” Johnson pointed out. “But were the officer’s actions criminal or irresponsible? No. Mr. Brooks was not targeted because of his color. He was detained because of his unlawful behavior. Had he chosen to follow the officers’ calm, reasonable directions, Mr. Brooks would still be alive today.
“We look for cases where an officer’s use-of-force was consistent with established law governing use-of-force by police,” Johnson added. “It is the role of the LELDF to try to reverse the ever-increasing trend of analyzing police officers’ use of force decisions through a political, rather than a legal, lens.”
The mission of the LELDF is both benevolent and educational. It supports and defends the law enforcement profession and those law enforcement officers who have devoted their lives to upholding the Constitution and serving the United States and its citizens while enforcing its laws. It also seeks to educate the public about the many risks and threats to law enforcement personnel in order to build a more informed, respectful, and appreciative society.
The 501(C)(3) organization was founded in 1995 in Alexandria, Virginia. It currently represents 10 police officers’ cases, including Officer Rolfe. More information is available on the LELDF website: https://www.policedefense.org/