DA Questions Atlanta Police Shooting, Says Charging Decision Could Be Ready Soon

A memorial with roses and a sign is displayed near a sidewalk on Saturday, June 13, 2020, near the Atlanta Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police late Friday.

A memorial with roses and a sign is displayed near a sidewalk on Saturday, June 13, 2020, near the Atlanta Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police late Friday. AP Photo


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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | The Tulsa health director expressed reservations about President Trump’s planned rally in the city this week … Minneapolis begins slow process of considering police dismantling … California police unions release their reform plan.

The black man killed by a white police officer outside a Wendy’s in Atlanta on Friday night was shot twice in the back, an autopsy released on Sunday found. As protesters took the streets Saturday about the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, the city’s police chief resigned and officer Garrett Rolfe was fired by the Atlanta Police Department. On Sunday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard criticized the police officer's actions, saying he likely would make a decision about charges by Wednesday. "(Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable," Howard said. "It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident that should have led to someone's death." Rolfe and another officer responded to the Wendy’s because a man was asleep in a car parked in the drive-thru lane. Their interactions with Brooks were captured on both bodycam and eyewitness videos, which showed that Brooks struggled with the officers after taking a sobriety test. At one point, Brooks struck Rolfe and took a Taser from another officer. As he ran away, he appeared to fire the Taser toward the Rolfe, although a video analysis by the New York Times found that “the flash of the Taser suggests that Mr. Brooks did not fire it with any real accuracy.” The video shows Rolfe then fires his handgun at Brooks three times. Outraged at the shooting, protesters blocked the busy Downtown Connector Saturday night and somebody also set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant.  [Atlanta Journal Constitution; CNN; Reuters]

TRUMP RALLY | The health director in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said he’s concerned about President Trump’s planned rally on June 20, saying that coronavirus cases have been climbing in the area, indicating that there is community spread. “I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic. I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well,” Dr. Bruce Dart said. [Tulsa World]

CORONAVIRUS HESITATIONS | A health adviser to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he doesn’t agree with the governor’s decisions to allow more indoor gatherings, such as permitting reopening of malls, casinos and gyms. “We should wait to see how the state does in the coming weeks before making changes,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. In Oregon, which previously had low coronavirus case counts, but now sees them growing, Gov. Kate Brown last week said she is putting a seven-day “hold” on all county petitions to further reopen economic activity. [Baltimore Sun; Oregonian]

MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DISMANTLING | The Minneapolis City Council took the next steps toward dismantling the city’s police department, something a majority of members say they favor. They voted on Friday to start developing a charter amendment for the November ballot that would abolish the department. At the same time, they adopted an amendment to instruct city staff to start working on a “transformative” public safety model. Mayor Jacob Frey does not support abolishing the police department, although he has emphasized he favors changing how police operate. Many business organizations have also expressed reservations. In interviews with city residents since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the Star Tribune found many who agree the department needs to be changed, even if some were unsure what that should look like. [Minnesota Public Radio; Star Tribune; New York Times]

CALIFORNIA POLICE UNIONS | The largest police unions in California took out full-page newspaper advertisements on Sunday, laying out what they described as an agenda to change in response to the death of George Floyd and calls for reform. “No words can convey our collective disgust and sorrow for the murder of George Floyd,” read the ad, which was placed by the San Jose Police Officers Association, the San Francisco Police Officers Associaton and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. The unions said they support changing the national use-of-force standard, establishing a national database of fired cops, and creating more “early warning systems” of cops with many complaints. [East Bay Times]

Laura Maggi is a managing editor at Route Fifty.

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