President Donald Trump called the controversial police shooting in Atlanta of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black father, a “terrible situation” Wednesday but said he shouldn’t have resisted arrest.
“I thought it was a terrible situation but you can’t resist a police officer, and, you know, if you have a disagreement, you have to take it up after the fact,” Trump said in an interview on Hannity.
“It was a very sad — very, very sad — thing. You take a look, it was out of control. The whole situation was out of control,” the president said.
Officials report that shortly after 10:30 p.m. last Friday, Atlanta police officers Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe responded to a complaint that a man, later identified as Brooks, was asleep in his car and obstructing other vehicles in the drive-through lane of a Wendy’s restaurant on University Avenue in southwest Atlanta.
The officers gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he failed. When the officers tried to arrest him, Brooks “resisted and a struggle ensued.” One of the officers fired a Taser but Brooks grabbed it before trying to run away. The “officers pursued Brooks on foot, and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”
Video images show Brooks was shot twice in the back as he fled.
Rolfe, the officer who fatally shot Brooks, has been fired and faces 11 charges, including felony murder, while Brosnan is facing three charges, including aggravated assault. The charges against the officers have been denounced by officials from the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which is the union representing Atlanta officers.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it's still continuing its investigation and "was not consulted on the charges filed" by the DA.
Brooks’ death, which took place just three weeks after the death of George Floyd, sparked fresh protests in Atlanta throughout last weekend, including one on Saturday night in which protesters burned down the Wendy’s restaurant where he was killed. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms called Brooks’ shooting an unjustified use of deadly force.
In his interview with Hannity, Trump highlighted what Rolfe's lawyer said.
“I heard today, and just got a report, that the police officer’s lawyer said that he heard a sound like a gun, like a gunshot, and he saw a flash in front of him,” Trump said. “So that’s an interesting — you know, don’t know that I would have necessarily believed that. But I will tell you, that’s a very interesting thing, and maybe that’s so. They’re going to have to find out.”
A report from the Daily Mail said Brooks was trying to avoid getting arrested again because he was on probation and could have been sent back to prison again for a DUI. His probation was connected to convictions related to an August 2014 case in which he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, battery-simple/family violence, simple battery and felony cruelty/cruelty to children.
He was sentenced to seven years, with one year in prison and six on probation. He was sent back to prison for 12 months in July 2016 after he violated the terms of his probation. Last December, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he visited Ohio without informing his probation officer.
Brook’s wife, Tomika Miller, described him as a devoted husband and loving father to their three daughters and his stepson.
Earlier this year in February, Brooks talked about his struggles with the criminal justice system and how it made it difficult for him to live and support his family, in an interview with Reconnect.
“I just feel like some of the system could, you know, look at us as individuals. We do have lives, you know, was just a mistake we made and, you know, not just do us as if we are animals, you know, lock us away,” he said.