A public viewing for Rayshard Brooks, the black man fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer in a Wendy’s parking lot, is being held Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church
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ATLANTA — A public viewing for Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer, is scheduled for Monday.
The viewing is to be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s congregation. The church is also set to host Brooks’ funeral Tuesday.
Officer Garrett Rolfe fatally shot Brooks in the back after Brooks fired a Taser in his direction while running away after a struggle with officers outside a Wendy’s fast food restaurant on June 12. Rolfe, 27, is white. Brooks, 27, was Black.
The shooting happened against the backdrop of nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd after a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into his neck. Demonstrations have called for a rethinking of policing and an examination of racism in the United States.
Officers responding to complaints of a car blocking the drive-thru lane found Brooks asleep in the car. Police body-camera video showed Brooks and officers having a calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes thereafter.
After conducting field sobriety tests, Rolfe told Brooks he’d had “too much to drink to be driving.” Brooks resisted being handcuffed, and he and the two officers wrestled on the ground. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fired it in their direction as he ran away.
An autopsy found he was shot twice in the back.
Rolfe was fired and another officer, 26-year-old Devin Brosnan, was placed on desk duty following the shooting. Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down less than 24 hours after Brooks died.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced 11 charges against Rolfe, including felony murder. Brosnan, who the prosecutor said stood on Brooks’ shoulder as he struggled for his life, is charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.
Lawyers for both men said their clients’ actions were justified.
Interim police Chief Rodney Bryant has said he was surprised Howard brought charges so quickly, before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had finished looking into the shooting. The GBI said in a tweet after Howard announced the charges that the agency was not consulted on the charges.
Both Rolfe and Brosnan turned themselves in Thursday. Brosnan was released on bond. A magistrate judge on Friday denied bond for Rolfe, citing the nature of the charges, after the former officer waived his initial court appearance. A bond hearing in superior court is scheduled for Tuesday.
Brooks’ eulogy Tuesday is to be delivered by the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist and a Democrat running for U.S. Senate.
A preview quote from the eulogy was released Monday: “Rayshard Brooks wasn’t just running from the police. He was running from a system that makes slaves out of people. A system that doesn’t give ordinary people who’ve made mistakes a second chance, a real shot at redemption.”