Swift Charges Against Atlanta Officers Met With Relief and Skepticism

And in a recent interview with ABC News, Mr. Howard denied that politics played a role in his decision to charge the officers, noting other cases in which he has gone after the police.

“Every case that we’ve handled,” he said, “that’s what they’ve said, it’s political, every case.”

Yet Mr. Howard has also earned some good will among city residents who were eager to see charges brought against the officers, who were summoned to a Wendy’s parking lot late on June 12 after an employee called 911 to report that Mr. Brooks had fallen asleep while in the drive-through.

In a mostly cordial encounter that was captured on video, Mr. Brooks, 27, answered the officers’ questions. But then, after failing sobriety tests, Mr. Brooks, who was on probation and faced a return to jail, began fighting with the officers as Mr. Rolfe tried to handcuff him. Mr. Brooks hit Officer Brosnan, grabbed his Taser and fired it while running away. Mr. Rolfe fired his own Taser and then his department-issued handgun three times, striking Mr. Brooks twice in the back.

Mr. Rolfe, who was fired from the Atlanta Police Department, was granted a $500,000 bond on Monday, though prosecutors from Mr. Howard’s office argued he should be denied bond. Mr. Rolfe will have to wear an ankle monitor and be on a daily curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Officer Brosnan, who remains on administrative duty, was released on a $50,000 bond.

Gerald Griggs, the first vice president of the N.A.A.C.P.’s Atlanta chapter, praised Mr. Howard’s decision to bring charges. Although he said he did not always agree with Mr. Howard, he called him “a hard-charging prosecutor that seeks justice where he believes that justice lies.”

The Brooks case was not the first in recent weeks in which Mr. Howard has been accused of charging police officers because of political motivations.

In the days before Mr. Brooks was killed, as demonstrators angered over the death of George Floyd poured into the streets of Atlanta, two college students driving in the midst of protests were Tased and violently dragged from their car by Atlanta police officers. Mr. Howard criminally charged six officers in connection with that encounter, which was filmed and posted on social media.

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