One of the Atlanta police officers charged in connection with the death of Rayshard Brooks said, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” and that he’s confident “the truth will come out,” according to media reports.
Brooks died after being shot as he attempted to flee Brosnan and former officer Garrett Rolfe — who faces 11 charges, including felony murder — after failing a sobriety test. The shooting triggered a second wave of protests over police brutality and racial injustice that began last month over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
Brosnan told the paper in an exclusive interview that he was surprised he’s been criminally charged.
“I feel like my side wasn’t really heard and given the short timeframe it’s hard for anybody to understand all the facts and the whole circumstances around it,” he said. “That being said, I’m still willing to cooperate.”
He said he’s often employed a laid-back style to defuse situations. Video footage shows him having a conversation with Brooks in a Wendy’s fast-food parking lot after responding to a 911 call because Brooks fell asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane.
After smelling alcohol on his breath, Brosnan called for a certified DUI officer to come to the scene, which was Rolfe. After failing the breathalyzer test, Brooks tried to flee as he was being arrested. Brosnan slammed his head into the pavement during the ensuing struggle and suffered a concussion, the paper reported.
Brooks allegedly stole his Taser and attempted to fire it at Rolfe’s direction as he ran. Rolfe fired three shots at Brooks as he fled, hitting him twice.
“You’re always taught in policing that you have to expect anything to happen,” Brosnan said. “But that being said, I felt like he was very respectful, I was respectful to him.”
Authorities said Brooks was not provided medical attention for more than two minutes after he was shot. Brosnan admitted to standing on Brooks shoulder after he was shot, but that he wasn’t aware of it at the time because of the concussion.
“I hear gunfire,” he told the paper. “I know he still has my Taser. I know there’s a crowd. I got up to him and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. You need to make sure you’re safe before you can help or do anything else.”
He told the AJC he would not have done anything differently, while also questioning Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s announcement last week that he agreed to become a cooperating witness to testify against Rolfe.
Brosnan has spoken with prosecutors and answered their questions but has not made any agreements with them, said his lawyer, Don Samuel.
“I just looked at it like, he could have just said I’m doing the right thing — I’m talking,” Brosnan said. “But it just seemed like it was more important to make it political than it was to get to the truth of the matter and get to the real facts of it. … Some person lost their life. It’s not something to make political.”
“I’m not a cooperating witness, I’m cooperating. I think that’s the takeaway,” he added. “I’ll tell the truth to anybody who needs to hear it.”
Brosnan will meet Tuesday with the Georgie Bureau of Investigation, who is investigating the shooting at the request of the Atlanta Police Department.
“I have full faith in the criminal justice system,” he said. “I really do. I have 100 percent faith the truth will come out. People will see this for what it is. They will understand I didn’t do anything wrong. I know the truth is what counts.”