The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot was granted a $500,000 bond on Tuesday.
Judge Jane C. Barwick reasoned that Garrett Rolfe is not a danger to the community or a flight risk. Rolfe will have to wear an ankle monitor, will not be able to have any kind of weapon, and must surrender his passport.
The decision came after Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow, asked the judge to deny Rolfe’s release.
“[Officer Rolfe] has already shown he’s a danger to the community. The way he stood over my husband and kicked his body, and I can only imagine what he felt and how scared he was at that time,” Miller said. “Killing him wasn’t enough. They stood there when something could’ve been done to save him.”
L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, attorneys for the Brooks family, expressed disappointment in the ruling.
“While the family of Rayshard Brooks is disappointed that his killer was granted bond today, they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard,” they said.
Rolfe is charged with felony murder as well as five counts of aggravated assault, four counts of violation of oath of office and one count of criminal damage to property.
In a previously filed court documents, Rolfe’s attorneys say Rolfe was legally justified and acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Brooks, 27, who wrestled with police and took the Taser of Officer Devin Brosnan during the scuffle.
Video of the June12 incident, which the defense has called the most valuable evidence in the case, shows Brooks running away and pointing the Taser behind him as Rolfe fired the fatal shots.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard alleged that after the shooting, Rolfe kicked Brooks and Brosnan stood on top of him. An attorney for Rolfe has denied his client kicked Brooks.
Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and released on a signature bond.
Defense presents 28 character letters
In court Tuesday, Rolfe’s legal team submitted 28 character letters on his behalf, calling him professional, trustworthy and a pillar in the community. They said the former officer is a student at Kennesaw State University, a Georgia native and not a flight risk. Rolfe’s team had asked the judge for a $50,000 signature bond.
The state questioned Rolfe’s ties to the community and the flight risk assessment, given that Rolfe has no job or no income. The state requested, if granted bond, investigators be given Rolfe’s cellphone pass code.
In addition, Rolfe’s legal team asked that an “inflammatory phone call” with a racial epithet not be played in court. An attorney for the state of Georgia said they intend to put the phone call into evidence.
Further, prosecutors indicated that the state executed search warrants for the phones of Rolfe and the other officer on scene and obtained records from both officers. The phone records allegedly show multiple texts between Rolfe and four different police department officers.
The state said that Rolfe has refused to turn over the pass code for his phone.
Brooks’ death, coming two weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, sparked more protests and demonstrations across Atlanta, and the city’s police chief stepped down less than a day later.
The arrests of the two officers at the scene of Brooks’ death was followed by days on which a large number of Atlanta officers called out sick from work.
Rolfe’s attorneys said in court documents that he should be granted a reasonable bond because he needs the opportunity to assist his counsel in preparing for this case.
His attorneys say they have provided the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with three cellphone videos taken by a witness.
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