Atlanta cop charged with assault in fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks calls his death ‘tragic’ and says 27-year-old black man was ‘friendly and respectful’

  • Officer Devin Brosnan said fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks was ‘a tragedy’ 
  • Brosnan was officer who was called to the scene of a Wendy’s late on Friday
  • He and Officer Garrett Rolfe found Brooks, 27, drunk and asleep in his car
  • As the two men tried to take Brooks into custody, a scuffle ensued
  • Brooks grabbed Brosnan’s Taser and fled while Rolfe gave chase
  • After Brooks appeared to shoot Taser at Rolfe, the officer fatally shot him 
  • Rolfe surrendered on Thursday and is being held on murder charge 
  • Brosnan was released on a $50,000 recognizance bond 
  • Brosnan is charged with aggravated assault for ‘standing on Brooks’ shoulders’
  • But Brosnan’s lawyer denied the allegation during an interview with MSNBC 
  • His attorney also blasted DA for claiming Brosnan would be ‘state’s witness’ 
  • Lawyer said Brosnan suffered a concussion after Brooks shot him with his Taser   

The white Atlanta police officer who was charged with assault during the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot on Friday night said the 27-year-old black man was ‘friendly and respectful’ and his death was ‘tragic.’

Officer Devin Brosnan on Thursday denied allegations by Atlanta prosecutors who say that Officer Garrett Rolfe kicked Brooks after he shot him in the back.

Brosnan’s lawyer also blasted Fulton County prosecutors for charging him with aggravated assault for standing on Brooks’ shoulders for two minutes as he lay dying on the pavement.

Brosnan issued the denial on the same day that he and Rolfe surrendered to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia.

Rolfe was booked on felony murder and assorted other charges on Thursday afternoon at the Fulton County Jail, where he remains held without bond.

Attorney Don Samuel (left) and his client, Atlanta Police Officer Devin Brosnan (right), denied allegations by Fulton County prosecutors that Rayshard Brooks was kicked or assaulted on Friday night

Fired officer Garrett Rolfe (left in mugshot) was booked on felony murder and assorted other charges on Thursday afternoon. Devin Brosnan, who was present but did not fire shots, is seen in a mugshot on Thursday

Brooks, 27, was fatally shot on Friday after he resisted arrest and stole a Taser from an Atlanta police officer

Rolfe, who shot Brooks in the back with his gun as Brooks fired a stolen police Taser at him, faces 10 other charges in addition to felony murder, which in Georgia applies when someone is killed as the result of a separate felony, such as arson.

Brosnan, who was present at the scene but did not fire, was freed on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond after being charged with aggravated assault charge.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard had told a news conference on Wednesday that Brosnan had turned ‘state witness’, agreeing to help prosecute Garrett Rolfe, the other officer charged in the killing of Brooks on June 12.

Brosnan, who did not discharge his weapon, faces a handful of lesser charges, including aggravated assault and violation of his oath. He made no comment as he was released on a signature bond on Thursday afternoon.

During an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, Brosnan expressed sadness for how the events unfolded that night.

Brosnan said: ‘I think this is a tragic event, and it’s a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night’.

Explaining what happened before Brooks was shot, Brosnan said: ‘My initial encounter with him, I thought he was friendly.

‘He was respectful, I was respectful to him. He just seemed like someone who potentially needed my help. And I was just there to see what I could do for him, initially. He was safe.’

Brosnan’s lawyer Samuel, said that while his client had told Howard’s office ‘everything that happened’ during a lengthy interview and would cooperate with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s probe he had not agreed to be ‘state’s witness’.

Brosnan walks out following his release from the Fulton County Jail on Thursday in Atlanta. Authorities have charged Brosnan with four counts, including aggravated assault in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks

Brosnan is surrounded by media following his release from the Fulton County Jail on Thursday

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard had told a news conference on Wednesday that Brosnan had turned ‘state witness’, which Brosnan’s attorney says is false 

Samuel told MSNBC: ‘There appears to have been some misunderstanding on the prosecutor’s office. We have been cooperative with the District Attorney’s office. we spent three hours with them two days ago answering all of their questions.’

‘But he’s not a state’s witness or a defense witness, he’s witness. He’s going to answer anyone’s questions accurately.

‘Right now, the DA has charged him with a crime, so he’s a defendant there. And he’s not going to answer the DA’s questions while they bring these false charges.’

In an emailed statement, Samuel described the decision to charge his client ‘irrational’ and politically-motivated.

He said Brosnan’s conduct on the night of the shooting was ‘exemplary’ and a ‘textbook example’ of how an officer should approach a situation involving someone inebriated, as Brooks was that night.

While Brosnan did not fire his gun, Howard charged him with aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Brooks’ body after he was shot and for violating his oath of office by not rendering medical aid immediately after he went down.

Samuel rejected the allegations against his client, saying that Brosnan pressed his feet on top of Brooks’ arm for ‘seconds’ to make sure that he was not a threat to reach for his weapon.

Pictured: A combination of photos shows Officer Garrett Rolfe, left, and Officer Devin Brosnan. Rolfe, who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in the back after the fleeing man fired a Taser at him, was charged with felony murder and 10 other charges. Brosnan, who prosecutors say stood on Brooks’ shoulder as he struggled for life after a confrontation, was charged with aggravated assault

‘If you look at the video, as Officer Brosnan approaches and Officer Rolfe is already there, he doesn’t even know that Mr. Brooks has been shot at first,’ Samuel said.

‘He doesn’t even realize that at first. And he goes up there and he’s trying to figure out “Is this scene secure? Is it safe?”’

Samuel said: ‘[Brosnan] puts his foot on his hand or on his arm to make sure he couldn’t get a weapon because he didn’t know what the situation was.

‘So, literally for a matter of seconds, seconds, he puts his foot on his arm to make sure he can’t grab a weapon.’

The lawyer lambasted the DA for charging Brosnan with aggravated assault..

‘He was not standing on his shoulders,’ Samuel said of his client.

‘This description by the DA is completely belied by the video if you look at it.

Pictured: Police body cam footage from the arrest of Rayshard Brooks on June 12, 2020. Brooks was being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence

‘It’s all on video, and the district attorney just kinda exaggerates this and makes it look like some terrible event where he’s standing on his shoulders.

‘It’s preposterous and it’s not true. And all you gotta do is look at the video and it’ll show it.’

Rolfe was fired from the force and faces a felony murder charge.

Rolfe’s attorney has said that Brooks ‘was not running away’ when he died.

Lance LoRusso also disputed a number of other claims made by Howard when the charges of felony murder for the shooting of Brooks were announced.

‘Mr. Brooks was not running away,’ he said, while speaking to Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday on her show, The Ingraham Angle.

‘Mr. Brooks turned and offered extreme violence toward a uniformed law enforcement officer. If he was able to deploy the Taser, it would incapacitate Officer [Garrett] Rolfe through his body armor, and at that point, if he decided to disarm another officer, he would be in possession of a firearm.’

LoRusso also contended DA Howard’s claim that the officers did not provide medical assistance to Brooks for two minutes and 12 seconds after he was shot, and the claim that Rolfe kicked Brooks as he lay dying on the floor.

‘My client never kicked Mr. Brooks,’ the lawyer said. 

‘If there was a video of my client kicking Mr. Brooks, you would have seen it.

‘He [the DA] shows a still [where] one leg is planted and the other one’s bent. He could be leaning down to try to give him first aid, it could have been when he was trying to evaluate whether he needed handcuffs.

‘This officer gave him CPR, monitored his pulse prior to that, talked to him to try to keep him breathing and called for EMS and coordinated other efforts on the scene.’

In his MSNBC interview, Brosnan also insisted that he did not see Rolfe kick Brooks after he had been shot.

His lawyer added: ‘If you look at the video and what happened after the scuffle. Officer Brosnan got a concussion he was thrown to the ground and shot by his own taser.

‘He starts running up and hears the shots, and is disoriented not only by the concussion but the crowds who have already started yelling. He doesn’t even know who shot the gun, and actually hides behind a car when he hears the gunshots.

‘So he didn’t see Officer Rolfe’s first encounter with Brooks, so he can’t provide any information on that at all, one way or the other.’

LoRusso also went on to contest the attorney general’s claim that he has never seen another officer testify against a colleague, to which LoRusso said that that Rolfe had ‘testified against an Atlanta Police officer in the grand jury when that officer had done something wrong.

‘So, this is an officer who’s known to the law enforcement community, he’s known to the DA’s office, and he was actually cleared of another use of force [incident] and he testified on behalf of the DA to prosecute a bad officer,’ he told Ingraham.    

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