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Rayshard Brooks case not about Taser, but about black people 'killed by police officers,' DA claims

'This case has very little to do with a Taser'

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard claimed Tuesday that the death of Rayshard Brooks has "little do to" with the Taser that Brooks stole from an Atlanta police officer.

Speaking with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, Howard said the argument that Brooks was in possession of a deadly weapon is "nonsense."

"I think it's simply a diversion from the real facts. This case has very little to do with a Taser," Howard said. "And I think some of the earlier presentations brought a Taser into the whole equation and I don't think the Taser fits in."

However, Howard claimed earlier this month that a Taser "is considered a deadly weapon under Georgia law." Those comments came after charging six Atlanta police officers for using their Tasers on protesters.

What the case is really about, Howard claimed, is police officers who kill black people.

"When Mr. Brooks was shot, he was running away. His back was turned. In fact, Mr. Brooks was some 18 feet, 3 inches away from the police officer at the time the shot was fired," Howard explained. "He did not fire the shot at the time that Mr. Brooks used the Taser."

"I think this whole argument about the Tasers is way off the track and I'm hoping that people will really get to the really substance of this case and really what I think people should be talking about is why is it in this country that African Americans continue to get killed by police officers?" Howard asked.

Surveillance video from the Wendy's parking lot where Brooks died on June 12 shows Brooks briefly engage in a physical alternation with two Atlanta police officers before stealing a Taser from one of the officers.

The video shows that, as Brooks ran away, he turned and fired the Taser at now-former Officer Garrett Rolfe, who responded by firing three shots at Brooks, two of which entered Brooks' back. Brooks died from those two shots, the medical examiner determined.

Rolfe has been charged with felony murder, in addition to 10 other charges, for killing Brooks.

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