After announcing yesterday that Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks, would be charged with felony murder, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard introduced what he termed “another important consideration” in the case. He went on to assert that the two officers involved ignored an “Atlanta policy that requires that the officers have to provide timely medical attention” to the victim, emphasizing, “for some period of two minutes and twelve seconds, there was no medical attention applied to Mr. Brooks.”
Then he dropped a bombshell:
When we examined the videotape and in our discussions with witnesses, what we discovered is during the two minutes and twelve seconds that Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground — while he was there fighting for his life. Secondly from the videotape we were able to see that the other officer, Officer Brosnan, actually stood on Mr. Brooks’s shoulder while he was there struggling for his life.
CNN notes that after the DA spoke, Brooks’s widow. Tomika Miller, “began to cry and said, ‘I was very hurt. … I felt everything that he felt just by hearing what he went through. And it hurt. It hurt really bad.'”
It’s not clear what video Howard was watching, but it was obviously not the one that follows, recorded on Rolfe’s body cam, which had become free during the struggle. In the clip, provided courtesy of the Daily Mail, the voice of the officer can be plainly heard repeating over and over, “Mr. Brooks keep breathing. Keep breathing for me.” Stills from the same video show the two officers leaning over the prone body of Brooks, administering CPR.
Many commentators have observed that Howard rushed to judgment in charging Rolfe with felony murder, which if he is convicted carries the death sentence or life in prison with no chance of parole. Those seems like pretty severe punishments for an officer whose most serious offense was exercising poor judgment. But on top of that, it looks as though Howard may be building a fraudulent case to appease the angry masses. Unless he can produce footage that bears out his claims of further police abuse, he should recuse himself from the case.