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’This Is Us’ Actor Niles Fitch Reveals Police Shooting Victim Rayshard Brooks Was His Cousin, Discusses Impact of His Death

Many people may know Niles Fitch for portraying the teenage version of Randall Pearson, played by actor Sterling K. Brown, in the ABC hit television drama “This Is Us.” However, the 19-year-old recently revealed that he is also the cousin of Rayshard Brooks.

Brooks was a 27-year-old unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Garrett Rolfe, in a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta, on Friday, June 12, after he was found sleeping in his car. 

(L) Niles Fitch and (R) Rayshard Brooks. (Photo: @nilesfitcher/Instagram Screenshot/Fox 5 Atlanta)

Fitch spoke on the tragic passing of his cousin for the first time during an interview for Fox Soul’s hip-hop talk show for millennials and Gen Z, “The Mix,” hosted by Romeo Miller, Zonnique Pullins, Jazz Anderson, Anton Peeples, and Jamie DuBose. 

The talk show is known for covering controversial topics and social issues, but its latest episode took a turn when Fitch revealed to viewers his connection to Brooks. 

The young actor spoke candidly about the first time he saw the viral video of his cousin’s killing, saying that at first, he couldn’t make out who was in the footage because it was too dark. Fitch also admitted that he’d become “numb” to seeing videos of similar incidents, which perhaps explained why he didn’t recognize Brooks at first.  

“I’m from Atlanta, and I haven’t said anything publicly, but my cousin was Rayshard Brooks,” Fitch explained. He added, “I remember watching the video, and I couldn’t see who it is or anything, and I remember being like, damn, that’s crazy, and I was a little numb to it, and I kept it moving.”

The actor said when he received the call from his mother later that day, “It really set on me, not only how bad it’s gotten, but how desensitized we are.” He added, “It was a real tough time, but we got through it. You gotta get through it. That’s the only thing you can do.”

Brooks’ death sparked outrage and protest. The fast-food restaurant where the incident occurred was set ablaze the following night, burning to the ground.  Soon afterward, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned and Rolfe was fired and charged with felony murder. Devin Brosnan, another officer who was on the scene with Rolfe trying to arrest Brooks, was put on administrative duty and is charged with aggravated assault in the case. 

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