The officers involved in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta are now facing multiple charges, with the cop who shot and killed Brooks facing felony murder. It comes just as the nation was settling down from the nationwide riots caused by the officer-involved fatality of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Brooks was reported to be passed out while at a local Wendy’s. After officers arrived and determined he was under the influence, they tried to arrest him for DUI. That’s when an intense scuffle began between Brooks and the officers. Brooks broke free, took off, grabbed the officer’s taser, and was shot and killed in the process. Video footage shows him aiming the taser back at police while fleeing. These two incidents are not the same, but CNN’s Chris Cuomo appeared to have had trouble understanding that lethal situations could arise when you assault police officers on his Tuesday broadcast.
Newsbusters was there to clip the exchange. Cuomo, who likes to mention that he’s a lawyer, duked it out with a former officer about the use of lethal force. Cuomo’s segment featured Steven Gaynor, the president of Cobb County’s Fraternal Order of Police:
CUOMO: So, why do you believe this shooting was justified?
GAYNOR: Well Chris, I think if you look at the whole situation, look at the whole story with an open mind from start to finish, you look at the officers dealing with Mr. Brooks in a very calm and peaceful manner for about 43 minutes. And then you see it suddenly change when they tell Mr. Brooks he's under arrest and begin to put the handcuffs on. Mr. Brooks becomes violent and begins to attack the officers.
Interrupting his guest, Cuomo followed up by asking the asinine question: “Why not give him the option of letting him leave that way? Leave the car here, walk home, or maybe we’ll give you a ride if we’re leaving, whatever. Why not go that way?”
Gaynor pointed out the obvious, that Brooks could’ve returned to his car when the cops left. “You leave somebody that’s DUI at the scene with a car, but even if he walks away, who knows if he doesn’t have another key if you take his keys. You don't know the facts. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” he explained.
A short time later, Cuomo spouted off about how a taser in an untrained user’s hands was not considered a deadly weapon. “And a taser doesn't count as deadly force when you guys use it. So why does it become one when he uses it,” he condescendingly sniped.
“A trained individual using a taser is not a deadly weapon by Georgia law,” Gaynor educated him. “So, a trained individual knows where to aim the taser. An untrained individual does not and it becomes a deadly weapon at that point.”
The CNN host couldn’t understand where his guest was getting that information, to which Gaynor told him: “The training we’ve had for over 20 years tells us that, if they take your baton or your taser, it now becomes one step more that you have to use deadly force.”
CUOMO: And under the law you have to believe either he has something he is going to seriously hurt somebody with, or that he has committed a crime that makes him a danger to seriously injure somebody. Which of those boxes do they check here?
GAYNOR: Well, he has committed a crime. He’s committed an agg. assault on two police officers, he’s stolen an item from one of the police officers--
CUOMO: The analysis is about what he did BEFORE the altercation with the police. You don't get to build in what happened in that moment with him as proof of his criminal behavior. That’s not in the case law.
GAYNOR: No. Yes, you do because what he does from his actions causes what occurs in his death, not the previous action where they’re all compliant. What he does when he's told he is under arrest, a lawful arrest. They go to put the handcuff on him – a lawful arrest with detention and he fights, he chooses to fight. That causes all these things to spiral. So, you’ve got to take those into account.
The publication added that this isn’t the only time Cuomo has been taken to school. Cuomo’s carefully laid out plan to paint the Georgia election system as racist was trashed on live TV when an election official noted that Democrats control the election boards and select the staff to work the polls in the areas where issues were reported. Georgia’s primary was a mess, but it wasn’t because of racism