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Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 15, 2020

No, Rayshard Brooks Is Not Another George Floyd

Atlanta police shooting of Brooks appears to be a clear case of justified use of deadly force.

One incident is not like the other, but that fact doesn’t matter to those promoting the fallacious narrative of “systemic racism” among America’s police. Last Friday in Atlanta, officers responded to a call of a man asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through lane. When the first officer arrived, he found a black man, Rayshard Brooks, asleep in his running vehicle and proceeded to awaken him. The officer was respectful and cordial, guiding Brooks to move his vehicle out of the drive-through lane and into a parking spot. He continued to question Brooks and, after a second officer arrived on scene, gave Brooks a breathalyzer test — which he failed. The officers then placed Brooks under arrest, but when they attempted to handcuff him, he suddenly struggled and fought back. In the scuffle on the ground, Brooks grabbed one of the officers’ tasers, punched him, and fled. Both officers gave pursuit and Brooks turned to fire the taser at one of them; the officer fired his sidearm three times at Brooks and brought him down. Brooks later died from the gunshot wounds while in surgery at the hospital. It’s a tragic death that would have been avoided if Brooks hadn’t resisted arrest.

Since both officers involved in the incident were white, unsurprisingly, it has been used by the social-justice mob and Black Lives Matter activists as “evidence” underscoring their false “systemic racism” narrative. Helping to feed that dubious narrative, Atlanta Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the city’s police chief, Erika Shields, had stepped down. She also called for the officer who shot Brooks to be fired, saying, “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.” Indeed, the officer, Garrett Rolfe, has been fired and could face murder charges; the other officer has been reassigned.

The Wendy’s restaurant where the incident took place was later burned down by rioters.

Body-camera footage has been released, as has a recording from a Wendy’s security camera. Both clearly show that Brooks acted as the aggressor. Some argue that Rolfe’s use of deadly force was not justified given the fact that Brooks brandished and shot a taser, which many view as nonlethal, and that Rolfe went beyond use of deadly force protocols. However, the Atlanta Police Department manual states that an officer may use deadly force when “he or she reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury and when he or she reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of serious bodily injury to the officer or others.”

What will be argued is whether Officer Rolfe’s threat assessment was justified. We think it was. Moreover, what is also clear from the footage is that race had nothing to do with the officers’ actions. Anyone who struggles with an arresting officer, grabs the officer’s weapon (whether considered lethal or not), and proceeds to run while firing it at the officer would have met a similar fate. This was an instance where the cops were simply trying to do their job in the way they had been trained. A seemingly benign situation suddenly was escalated into a life-and-death struggle by Brooks, not by the arresting officers.

It’s worth pondering that if George Floyd had been arrested by these two Atlanta officers, he’d still be alive today.

Unfortunately, when the popular narrative of “racist police” has trumped the facts, is it any wonder police officers across the nation are deciding that it’s not worth it and are resigning?


Disturbing video below:

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