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Atlanta officer who killed Rayshard Brooks could be charged with felony murder


'[Brooks] did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone'

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot late Friday, triggering a new wave of protests, could face felony murder charges.

Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard announced Sunday that his office will determine this week whether criminal charges will be filed against Garrett Rolfe, the officer responsible for Brooks's death.

"[Brooks] did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable," Howard told CNN on Sunday.

"It just seems like this is not the kind of conversation and incident that should have led to someone's death," he added.

Howard said his office will consider a full range of charges — from manslaughter to felony murder — in the case, and said a decision will be made by Wednesday.

"Specifically, Officer Rolfe, whether or not he felt that Mr. Brooks, at the time, presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury. Or, the alternative is whether or not he fired the shot simply to capture him or some other reason," Howard explained. "If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer's life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law."

Rolfe has already been fired from his job with the Atlanta Police Department. Police Chief Erika Shields has also resigned.

Following Howard's CNN interview, his office released the following statement, WGCL-TV reported:

Because this is a homicide investigation, there are several technical requirements that must be met before we are able to reach a decision. That includes the confirmation of the ballistics involved and obtaining a preliminary report from the Medical Examiner. Additionally, my office received a referral from a local attorney who provided the names of two other witnesses who my office is working to speak with before making a decision. We are still experiencing some difficulty in obtaining all of the body cam and dash cam footage from the Atlanta Police Department. We are working around the clock to bring this investigation to a conclusion, and it is my hope to be able to announce our decision midweek.

Meanwhile, the Fulton County medical examiner declared Sunday that Brooks's manner of death was homicide, WGCL reported.

Brooks sustained two gunshots to the back, the medical examiner determined.

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