Rayshard Brooks failed a breathalyzer test in a 2020 DUI and resisted arrest, struggling with officers, grabbing a taser from one of them, and trying to use it as he fled. Officer Garrett Rolfe executed him on the spot with two shots to the back, and footage shows him and another officer, Devin Brosnan, delivering a beating to the dying man. Though charged with felony murder among other crimes, Rolfe and Brosnan now walk free after a prosecutor says the killing was justified. At the time, the District Attorney said the fleeing Brooks presented no threat to the officers. Now, though, the Special Prosecutor assigned to the case says it's "objectively reasonable" to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back—because the Taser he wielded was a lethal weapon.
Peter Skandalakis, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said on Tuesday that the shooting was justified because the Taser would be considered a deadly weapon.
He added that race was not believed to be a factor.
The leader of the local chapter of the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights group, criticised the ruling, saying: "Race is absolutely a part of it."
The prosecutor's statement that tasers are lethal weapons will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever tried to claim this about a cop's use of one! But it's a one-time excuse to get these cops off the hook, not a legal verdict, so the determination will be of no use to anyone except them.