The city of Atlanta has agreed to pay Rayshard Brooks’ family $1 million to settle a civil case filed after the Black man was fatally shot by police during an encounter in a Wendy’s parking lot in June 2020, according to a spokesperson for the law firm representing Brooks’ family.
“The Brooks family is pleased to have reached a settlement with the city of Atlanta that concludes their civil case.” This bereaved family has been through a lot during this time. Although Mr. Brooks’ children have lost their father, the settlement will undoubtedly help them with future plans as they grow older,” attorneys L. Chris Stewart, Justin Miller, Dianna Lee, Brian Spears, Jeff Filipotis, and Wingo Smith said in a statement following the settlement on Monday.
Brooks, 27, was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer on June 12, 2020, during an altercation in a Wendy’s parking lot. Garrett Rolfe, the officer, opened fire on Brooks after he got into a physical altercation with him and another officer while they were attempting to arrest him for DUI. Bodycam footage, Wendy’s surveillance video, and bystander cellphone videos all captured the incident.
Prosecutors said Brooks tried to flee from officers Rolfe and Devin Brosnan after breaking free and grabbing the latter’s taser. After Brooks, 27, turned and discharged the taser at him while fleeing, Rolfe shot him twice in the back. Brooks later died in a hospital from his injuries.
The death of a Black man sparked protests in Atlanta and other cities across the country, with people condemning the officers’ use of excessive and lethal force. His death also occurred as the country was attempting to quell the protests that erupted following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Brooks was assassinated just a few weeks after Floyd.
“There is a clear distinction between what you can and should do,” former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a press conference following Brooks’ death. “I don’t think this was a justified use of lethal force.”
Following the fatal encounter, Rolfe was fired and Brosnan was placed on administrative leave by the Atlanta Police Department. Erika Shields, the Atlanta Police Chief at the time, resigned as well. However, Rolfe was reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board last year after the board determined that the police department violated city code when it fired him.
The two officers have also been charged in connection with Brooks’ death. Rolfe was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, oath violations, and criminal property damage. Brosnan, on the other hand, was charged with aggravated assault and lying under oath, according to CNN.
However, in August, a Georgia special prosecutor announced that the charges against the officers would be dropped after it was determined that their actions were justified because they were responding to a deadly threat.
“While we are disappointed that prosecutors did not pursue a criminal case against the officers involved in Mr. Brooks’ death, we remain hopeful that the Department of Justice will intervene in this matter,” Brooks’ family’s attorneys said in a statement.