Officer Charged With Assault in Rayshard Brook's Case Said His Death Is 'Tragic'

Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Devin Brosnan was the first officer on the scene after another officer, Garrett Rolfe, fired three shots at Brooks’ back.

An Atlanta Police officer who was charged with assault in connection with the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's described the 27-year-old and as “friendly and respectful” before he was shot in the back by another officer who has now been charged with felony murder.

Devin Brosnan was the first officer on the scene after another officer, Garrett Rolfe, fired three shots at Brooks’ back, two of which hit and killed him. Brooks was running away as he was shot. Brosnan called the killing “tragic,” in an interview with MSNBC.

“…It's a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night,” Brosnan said. “My initial encounter with him, I thought he was friendly. He was respectful, I was respectful to him. He just seemed like someone who potentially needed my help. And I was just there to see what I could do for him, initially. He was safe.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a press conference Wednesday that Brosnan would testify against Rolfe, but one of Brosnan’s attorneys, Amanda Clark Palmer, has said that isn’t true.

“To be clear, there is no agreement that our client is going to testify at any hearing," Clark Palmer told CNN. “There's no need for a plea deal. … In my view, he doesn't need a deal. He shouldn't have been charged with a crime in the first place. ... He is not a state's witness. He is a witness."

Brosnan has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Brooks' shoulder as he lay on the pavement "fighting for his life,” Howard said. Palmer denied that happened. Another attorney for Brosnan, Don Samuel, also told MSNBC that Brosnan only only stepped on Brooks’ arm for seconds to make sure “he couldn’t get a weapon because he didn’t know what the situation was.”

Brosnan was also charged with three counts of violation of oath in the death for allegedly not offering any medical aid to Brooks.

The tragedy unfolded when police responded to a call about a man sleeping in his car.

Brooks, who spoke with police for 41 minutes and 17 seconds, was "calm" and "cordial," body cam footage showed, Howard said.Though "slightly impaired," Brooks displayed a "cooperative nature," the prosecutor added.

The officers had earlier claimed that Brooks resisted arrest for DUI, grabbed an officer's Taser and fired at them, before Rolfe fired two rounds at Brooks. But the prosecutor said the non-lethal Taser did not constitute an "imminent threat" to the officers' lives and that the shooting violated department procedures for firing a duty weapon. 

An autopsy determined Brooks died from being shot twice in the back.

Rolfe was fired, and Brosnan has been put on administrative leave. Both surrendered to authorities on Thursday. Rolfe is being held without bond. Brosnan is free on $50,000 bond.

Rolfe’s attorney, Lance J. LoRusso, has said that he is "confident" his client will be "vindicated" once al the evidence is heard, according to CNN.