Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, was granted a $500,000 bond on Tuesday. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick said that Rolfe was entitled to bond because he does not pose any danger to the community and is not a flight risk.
Brooks was shot on June 12 in a Wendy’s parking lot just south of downtown Atlanta after officers responded to a call about a man sleeping in his car in the drive-thru lane. At the bond hearing, which took place via videoconference, his widow, Tomika Miller, cried as she implored the judge not grant Rolfe bond.
“My husband did not deserve to die, and I should not live in fear while waiting for the man who killed my husband to be tried in court,” she said. Rolfe, who was present during the call, did not speak.
The former officer was fired from the Atlanta Police Department after Brooks’ death and now faces 11 charges, including felony murder. Rolfe was attempting to arrest Brooks, who had fallen asleep in his car and failed his sobriety test when the situation escalated. After Brooks struggled with Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan, grabbing Brosnan’s Taser and fleeing with it, Rolfe shot Brooks in the back as he fled. Brosnan has been placed on administrative leave and faces lesser charges, including aggravated assault.
During the bond hearing, Miller described her late husband as a loving father. She also said Brooks was killed on their daughter’s birthday and that their anniversary was the day after he died.
“My life is completely turned upside down since this has happened. I’ve been unable to eat, sleep, or even console my children,” she said. At one point Miller excused herself from the videoconference to collect herself.
Rolfe’s bond is not without conditions. Per the prosecutor’s request, Rolfe will have to wear an ankle monitor, comply with a curfew, give up his passport and weapons, and refrain from contacting other police officers or the family members of the victim. While Judge Barwick ultimately set Rolfe’s bond for $500,000, prosecutors had requested it be set at $1 million, while the defense attorneys requested a $50,000 bond.
Rolfe’s attorney’s blamed Brooks for escalating the situation and said the officer “had no choice but to use deadly force.” They also referred to a series of letters from other Atlanta officers to tout Rolfe’s good character and present him as respectful and trustworthy individual.
By contrast, prosecutors emphasized that Brooks was running away at the time that Rolfe opened fire, and highlighted witness testimonies and video footage that indicate Rolfe kicked Brooks after he was shot.
“I can just only imagine how scared he was and what he felt at that time,” Miller said of the video footage that captured the moment Rolfe kicked Brooks as he lay on the ground.
Brooks’ death sparked national outrage and cross-country protests as Black Lives Matter supporters and activists called for justice.