The police officer charged with fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks and was subsequently fired last year in a fast-food parking lot has been reinstated by the city of Atlanta due to improper dismissal procedures.
Atlanta’s Civil Service Board (CSB) determined that the Atlanta Police Department failed to grant Garrett Rolfe the opportunity to respond to their intent to terminate him and that he wasn't provided his right to due process, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
“The Board grants the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the [Atlanta Police Department],” the CSB statement read, according to The Hill.
The CSB heard Rolfe’s case via a Zoom hearing on April 22 before making the decision.
A spokesman for the APD, Anthony Grant, told NPR "It is important to note that the CSB did not make a determination as to whether officer Rolfe violated Atlanta Police Department policies. In light of the CSB's rulings, APD will conduct an assessment to determine if additional investigative actions are needed."
Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after killing Brooks, has gotten his job back.
Atlanta police officer charged with shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks, has been cleared by the Atlanta Civil Service Board to return to policing duty pic.twitter.com/Xj0eFiuDJr
— My Mixtapez (@mymixtapez) May 5, 2021
Paperwork for Rolfe’s termination was originally filed the day after the June 12, 2020, incident.
The night of the shooting, officers had responded to a call that a Black man had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane at a Wendy’s, as Blavity previously reported. Rolfe and the accompanying officer questioned Brooks and proceeded to handcuff him after a series of failed sobriety tests.
Officials say Brooks resisted, grabbing the second officer’s Taser as he ran away. A chase occurred before Brooks allegedly attempted to shoot Rolfe with the Taser but was shot two times in the back by the officer.
According to NPR, Brooks was not provided immediate medical assistance and later died at the hospital. The following day, former APD chief Erika Shields resigned.
That same weekend, Rolfe’s dismissal was announced and he was later charged with murder and aggravated assault of the 27-year-old.
In the aftermath of Brook’s death, a new wave of protests was sparked across Atlanta and the nation. As Blavity previously reported, people around the world were just beginning to grapple with the killing of George Floyd that had taken place in Minneapolis a few weeks prior.
The vice president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP and lawyer Gerald Griggs said that he hoped the city would appeal Rolfe’s reinstatement because he was already charged with Brook’s death.
“He used a lethal weapon to respond to non-lethal force,” Griggs said. “There definitely was probable cause for murder charges.”
In a statement made to NPR, the APD said Rolfe will remain on administrative leave until his criminal charges are resolved.