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Atlanta's mayor defends firing of cop who shot Rayshard Brooks, cites 'volatile state of our city and nation last summer'

Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta last June, was reinstated to the force Thursday.

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Rolfe still faces felony murder and 10 other charges, but it appears the city determined that he was not given due process. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

“Due to the City’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the Board concludes the Appellant was not afforded his right to due process,” the [Civil Service Board] concluded. “Therefore, the Board grants the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD.”

The ruling doesn’t mean Rolfe will be back on the streets. In fact, he won’t actually be allowed to return to work, as his bond prevents him from possessing a firearm or being around other officers, said attorney Lance LoRusso, who represented the 28-year-old officer in front of the Civil Service Board. Rolfe will receive back pay for his time away from the department and will be compensated at the same rate as he was before his dismissal.

Rolfe was fired last June one day after he shot Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot. A scuffle followed after Brooks struck the other officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, hard enough to cause a concussion, grabbed his Taser and aimed it at Rolfe, who then fired as he ran from the scene.

Brooks’ death led to widespread unrest in the city; the Wendy’s was torched and later razed.

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On Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms essentially confirmed Rolfe was not afforded his right to due process, citing the “volatile state of our city and nation last summer.” “Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse.”

AJC readers in the comments overwhelmingly applauded the decision to reinstate Rolfe:

https://twitter.com/saddlewiz/status/1389955684729561094

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Step-mother, and no, we don’t think so.


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