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The Wrongful Death Of Rayshard Brooks In Atlanta On June 13, 2020

Updated on June 16, 2020
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Author served in the legal, corrections system in Utah for over eight years, and in private and federal service also, before his retirement.

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust, leaves the rest of the story untold....


What the video shows a reasonable person....

If you watch the video of the attempted arrest and the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, you can follow what I will present here.

The shooting and death of Brooks was a case of an Atlanta police officer using lethal force that resulted in the fleeing man's death.

At the moment Atlanta officers first confronted Brooks at his car located in the drive-up area of the Wendy's business, he was cooperative. He went with them to an open area of the business' parking lot. He performed their request that he perform a standard sobriety test. He allowed them to do a personal search to verify that he had no weapon, or other dangerous or illegal material they could immediately detect by their search. He agreed to take a breathalyzer test, and he complied with their instructions in taking it.

The test showed that his blood alcohol level was slightly over the legal limit that could allow him to operate a motor vehicle on the city streets. Brooks was made aware of this and was told that he was going to be placed under arrest.

Up to this point Rayshard Brooks had been fully cooperative.

As the officers began to handcuff Brooks, two officers and Brooks ended up on the ground as a struggle started.

In the struggle, one officer took out his Taser in an attempt to immobilize Brooks, and complete the arrest.

Brooks freed himself, grabbed the officer's Taser, and, in addition to resisting arrest, began to flee while chased by the two arresting officers.

What eventually transpired was that Brooks turned on the closest pursuing officer and made a threatening move before continuing to flee. That officer had already drawn his automatic, and shot and killed Brooks with shots the autopsy showed had hit him in the back.

Was the officer's action a case of using excessive force? Surely a court will eventually make that decision following an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and an internal review by the Atlanta Police Department.

Here is what I believe they will find relevant.

Brooks was in a licensed motor vehicle the police could understandably believe to be his own. The evidence for his arrest had already been collected, as well as other possible charges resulting from his having fallen asleep in the vehicle while waiting to have service he was seeking at that Wendy's.

Not shown in the public videos was any normal request for Brooks to identify himself with his driver's license, and car registration, as standard police procedure would normally have called for.

In any case, the officers' body cameras, and initial dealings with Brooks, plus the motor vehicle, would have given the police enough information to subsequently arrest Brooks, even if he had successfully outrun the police and evaded arrest on the spot.

With their knowledge that Brooks was unarmed, except for the one officer's Taser, the use of deadly force seems to me unjustified.

That the officer was (1) stressed from the struggle and the pursuit, (2) embarrassed that he had lost control of the police Taser he had been issued, and (3) may have felt threatened by Brooks' initial abrupt turn to confront him before continuing to flee, is likely quite true.

In standard training for those who carry a Taser as part of their uniform, trainees are themselves subject to experiencing being shot with a Taser. I have had such training. The experience is normally not life-threatening to a normally healthy person.

Without any other known weapon, and with Brooks still fleeing, what justifiable concern could the pursuing officers have had based on Brooks' behavior?

Any attorney defending the dismissed officer will plead that officer believed he himself might be immobilized, if Brooks successfully Tasered him, and could then take his own weapon and do him and his fellow officer bodily harm that the Taser alone could not do.

What that officer seems to have failed to properly consider was that Brooks could be arrested and charged later. He failed to properly weigh Brooks' potential danger to the public at large, or gave it too much weight at the time.

The result was his ultimate use of lethal force against Rayshard Brooks.

It has been said that "The mills of the gods grind slow, but exceedingly fine."

It will be months before final determinations will be made in this particular case, but they will be made. The Sunday autopsy labeled the shooting as a homicide.

These circumstances will be weighed by everyone involved, including the public at large.

The one thing certain now, is that Brooks will not be alive to tell his own side of the story.

A too often, too final tribute....


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Demas W Jasper


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