President Donald Trump late Wednesday came to the defense of the now-former Atlanta officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot last week, blaming the victim for not fully cooperating and declaring that “police have not been treated fairly in our country.”
“You can’t resist a police officer, and if you have a disagreement, you have to take it up after the fact,” Trump said in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. “It was a very sad—very, very sad—thing. Look, uh, you take a look, it was out of control, the whole situation was out of control.”
The president went on to describe as “very interesting” a claim by fired officer Garrett Rolfe’s lawyers that he “heard a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him” before shooting Brooks in the back as the man attempted to flee.
“Again, you can’t resist a police officer like that, and they ended up in a terrible disagreement, and look at the way it ended,” Trump said. “Very bad. Very bad.”
"You can't resist a police officer. If you have a disagreement, you have to take it up after the fact." — Trump defends the Atlanta cop that shot and killed Rayshard Brooks pic.twitter.com/dbcJpWzdEr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 18, 2020
Trump’s comments came hours after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. announced that Rolfe has been charged with felony murder for the killing of Brooks, which sparked massive protests in Atlanta and led to the resignation of the city’s police chief.
During a press conference unveiling the charges against Rolfe Wednesday afternoon, Howard said Brooks “never presented himself as a threat” in his encounter with police last Friday, much of which was captured on video.
“For 41 minutes and 17 seconds, he followed their instructions, he answered questions,” said Howard.
Rolfe exclaimed, “I got him” after shooting Brooks in the back twice, kicked the victim, and failed to quickly provide medical attention, Howard said. Devin Brosnan, Rolfe’s partner, stood on Brooks’ shoulder after Rolfe’s gunshots fatally wounded him, according to prosecutors. Brosnan, who remains on the Atlanta police force, faces an aggravated assault charge.
“I was told as a kid that you don’t kick a man when he’s down,” Justin Miller, a lawyer representing Brooks’ family, said during a press conference Wednesday. “What you saw and what we all saw is one officer standing on a man who is dying, standing on top of him, and then the other officer literally kicking him while he’s on the ground dying.”