ATLANTA – The former Atlanta police officer charged with fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks can be released on bond, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Fulton County Judge Jane Barwick said she does not believe Garrett Rolfe is a flight risk or would intimidate witnesses.
Barwick set Rolfe’s bond at $500,000.
Conditions of the bond include wearing an ankle monitor, honoring a 6 p.m.- 6 a.m. curfew with the exception of work, medical or legal obligations, surrendering his passport, not possessing any firearms, and not having contact with any witnesses or Atlanta police officers.
“There is sufficient convincing factors in front of me that he does have sufficient ties to the community and he is not a flight risk,” Barwick said at the hearing. “I do not believe that he is a danger to the community.”
Rolfe, who was fired from the department after the incident, was charged with 11 counts, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities say Rolfe shot Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, twice in the back in a Wendy’s parking lot near downtown Atlanta on June 12.
Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan were responding to a call about Brooks being asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane. Brooks failed a sobriety test and officers tried to handcuff him.
Videos from the scene show Brooks wrestling with the officers and taking one of their Tasers. Brooks aimed the Taser at the officers while running away. The video shows an officer aim his gun at Brooks before Brooks falls to the ground.
Rolfe’s attorneys argued at the hearing that the shooting was justified and that he was not a threat to the community.
Criminal defense attorney Bill Thomas cited 28 character letters submitted to the court on behalf of Rolfe saying he is professional, trustworthy and a community pillar.
Rolfe was a seven-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department and has lived in Georgia all his life, Thomas said.
“This is not a case of someone who is a gang banger who decided to go do a drive-by shooting,” Thomas said. “It’s not a home invasion. It’s not a burglary where somebody was killed in the process. This is an officer who was in the performance of his duty, a suspect escalated a situation … and a death resulted.”
Fulton County Chief Assistant District Attorney Clinton Rucker had asked for the judge to deny bond suggesting Rolfe might attempt to influence witnesses.
Rucker noted video evidence that shows Rolfe kicking Brooks after shooting him and the two minutes it took Rolfe to render medical aid to Brooks.
“At the time Rolfe shot him twice in the back. Mr. Brooks was not a physical threat to Rolfe in any way, he was running away,” Rucker said. “It doesn’t show Officer Rolfe treating Mr. Books with the utmost respect after he shot him.”
Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow, also spoke during the hearing saying Rolfe’s release would further traumatize her.
“My life is completely turned upside down since this has happened,” Miller said. “I should not have to live in fear while waiting for a man who killed my husband to be tried in court.”
L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, attorneys for the Brooks’ family, said in a statement that the family was disappointed that Rolfe was granted bond but understands there will be a “long quest for justice.”
“Rather than looking at this process as a series of ‘wins’ or ‘losses,’ it’s imperative that we continue to push for systemic change within our criminal justice system,” the statement said. “From hate crime laws being passed to increasing oversight of members of law enforcement, our job is to ensure that positive change comes from this tragic situation. We will be diligent in our pursuit of justice for this family and will do everything in our power to make sure that Rayshard Brooks did not lose his life in vain.”
The shooting sparked protests, one of which turned violent when the Wendy’s was set on the fire the night after the shooting.
A private funeral for Brooks, who was a married father of three daughters and a stepson, was held last week in Atlanta.
Contributing: Joel Shannon of USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Garrett Rolfe, charged with murder in Rayshard Brooks case, gets bond
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