“Both acted as reasonable officers would under the facts and circumstances of the events of that night,” special prosecutor Peter Skandalakis said. “Both acted in accordance with well-established law and were justified in the use of force regarding the situation.”
The incident was extensively captured on video, including bodycam footage, Wendy’s surveillance video and witness cellphone video.
In the press conference Tuesday, Skandalakis and former Gwinnett County District Attorney Daniel Porter presented video of the incident and provided a frame-by-frame analysis of the fatal encounter.
Porter explained Georgia officers are allowed to use deadly force when faced with a deadly weapon, including a Taser, so prosecutors determined the shooting was legal. They also determined the officers did not act with criminal intent.
“Was it objectively reasonable that (Rolfe) can use deadly force? We determined it was,” Skandalakis said.
“Black lives do matter,” Skandalakis said. “I understand that the encounters between police and the African American community at times are very volatile. But I would ask them to look at the facts of this case, and this isn’t one of those cases. This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt and unfortunately, by his actions, this is what happened.”
Officers remain employed by Atlanta Police
On Tuesday, Rolfe’s attorneys Noah H. Pines, Bill Thomas and Lance LoRusso released a statement in the wake of the prosecutors’ announcement.
“Garrett Rolfe is relieved that the criminal charges filed against him by former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard have finally been dismissed and that he has been exonerated for his actions on June 12, 2020,” they said.
CNN has reached out to attorneys for Brooks’ estate and to attorneys for Brosnan for comment. Attorneys for Brosnan have previously defended his actions that night.
In May 2021, the Atlanta Civil Service Board ruled Rolfe was wrongly terminated and reinstated him. The APD at the time said the board’s decision said the firing process was “not done in accordance with the Atlanta City Code” and Rolfe would remain on administrative leave until the criminal charges against him were resolved.
Both officers remain on administrative leave with the Atlanta Police Department and will undergo recertification and training, the department said in a statement.
“We have faith in the criminal justice system, and we respect the special prosecutor’s decision in this case,” the department said.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he respects the special prosecutor’s “independent role” in the case and touted the city’s efforts to improve collaboration between police and the communities they serve.
“Through engagement with community advocates, the Atlanta City Council, the Atlanta Police Department and others, we have listened and moved forward proactively with significant reforms. The Department has reviewed its standard operating procedures and enhanced training on how to de-escalate confrontations.”
How the shooting unfolded
The day Brooks was shot, police were responding to the Wendy’s following reports a man was asleep in his vehicle in the drive-thru lane, according to the GBI.
When Brosnan arrived, Brooks was apparently asleep behind the wheel, and Brosnan knocked on the window to wake him up. Brosnan later asked him whether he’d been drinking. Brooks told the officer he had only one drink, body-worn camera shows.
A few minutes later, Rolfe arrived on the scene and used a Breathalyzer on Brooks. Prosecutors noted their interaction was cordial and professional throughout.
Yet as Rolfe attempted to handcuff Brooks, he suddenly resisted. Brooks struggled with the officers and grabbed Brosnan’s Taser, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Another video filmed by a bystander begins shortly after the struggle started and shows Brooks getting a hold of the Taser and breaking free.
As Brooks ran from the officers, he turned back and appeared to point the Taser at Rolfe, who unholstered his handgun and fired, shooting Brooks twice. Prosecutors Tuesday said a video analysis determined Brooks fired the Taser at Rolfe, who fired his handgun 1.1 seconds later.
CNN’s Ryan Young, Devon M. Sayers, Jason Morris and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.