At a press conference on Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, a Democrat, announced charges against former Atlanta Police Officer Garret Rolfe, who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks Friday night outside of a Wendy's restaurant. Rolfe now faces charges that include felony murder and aggravated assault.
Police found Brooks intoxicated and passed out in the drive-thru lane. When police tried placing Brooks under arrest, Brooks attacked the officers, stole a taser and used the weapon on police while attempting to escape on foot. These crucial facts were largely absent in Howard's remarks during the press conference, which nitpicked the officers who came under attack while pretending the violent actions of the suspect never occurred.
"One of the things that we noted from our evaluation was that Mr. Brooks on the night of this incident was calm," Howard somehow surmised. "He was cordial and really displayed a cooperative nature. Secondly, even though Mr. Brooks was slightly impaired, his demeanor during this incident was almost jovial."
Howard further claimed, preposterously, "that at no time was Mr. Brooks ever a threat to anyone, including the officers in that Wendy's parking lot." But thanks to video of the incident, we know that isn't true. We also know, thanks to video from just a few weeks ago, that Howard believes tasers are deadly weapons but apparently only when police are the ones using them.
In a recent interview, Howard boasted that he had prosecuted more law enforcement officers for crimes than any other office in the country. According to his own count, 38 officers have been prosecuted for crimes since Howard took office in 2007.
It's worth noting that Howard himself is currently under investigation. Channel 2 and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters discovered that 80 percent of some $250,000 sent to the district attorney's office for crime prevention programs ended up in Howard's pocket.
"I asked the city of Atlanta for a supplement to my salary and they agreed to it," Howard claimed.
Howard also faces a strong election challenge from fellow Democratic rival Fanni Willis. Howard finished second to Willis in a recent primary and the two now have a runoff race on August 11.