Atlanta pays Rayshard Brooks family $1 million settlement

The Atlanta City Council on Monday voted to pay a $1 million settlement to the family of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot dead by a police officer.

Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was shot and killed after confronting two white police officers in June 2020. The shooting happened below the knee of a Minneapolis police officer just weeks after the death of George Floyd. It sparked a new wave of demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice in Atlanta.

A special prosecutor assigned to review the case said in August that the use of deadly force was “objectively appropriate”. Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Georgia Board of Attorneys, said he will not be filing charges against Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, and Officer Devin Brosnan.

Attorneys for the Brooks family say they remain disappointed that no charges have been filed against the officers, but said Monday the Brooks family is pleased to have reached an agreement with the city. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in September 2021 by Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller and his estate.

The city council voted 15-0 on Monday to approve the settlement.

‚ÄúThis grieving family has been through so much during this process. Although Mr. Brooks’ children have lost their father, the settlement of the case will no doubt help them with their future plans when they grow up,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement.

They also said they “remain hopeful that the Justice Department will intervene in this matter.”

Police on June 12, 2020 responded to complaints from a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s restaurant. Police camera video shows the two officers having a quiet conversation with Brooks for about 40 minutes.

Then, when officers told Brooks he drank too much to drive and attempted to arrest him, Brooks resisted in a fight that was captured on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed a taser from one of the officers and fled, firing it at Rolfe as he ran. Rolfe fired his gun and an autopsy revealed Brooks was shot twice in the back.

Then-Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after the shooting, and protesters set fire to Wendy’s, which was later demolished.

Rolfe was fired the day after Brooks’ death, but his firing was reversed by the Atlanta Civil Service Board in May 2021. The board found that the city had failed to follow its own procedures for disciplinary action.