An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Atlanta police officer on 11 charges, including murder and assault, in relation to the killing of African American man Rayshard Brooks in the US city.
Garrett Rolfe could face life without parole or the death penalty, a prosecutor said.
Brooks’ fatal encounter with police came after an employee of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant in Atlanta phoned the authorities last Saturday to say someone had fallen asleep in his car in the restaurant’s drive-through lane.
The decision to prosecute came five days after the killing rocked a city – and a nation – already roiling from the death of George Floyd under a police officer’s knee in Minneapolis late last month.
“Mr Brooks never presented himself as a threat,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul L Howard Jr announced on Wednesday, adding Brooks never showed aggressive behaviour.
“After he was shot, for some two minutes and 12 seconds, no medical assistance,” said Howard.
He said during that time, Rolfe kicked Brooks while he lay on the ground struggling for life.
Rolfe shot Brooks after the 27-year-old Black man grabbed a Taser and ran, firing it from too far away to reach the white officer, the prosecutor said. Plus, the Taser had already been fired twice, so it was empty and no longer a threat, Howard said.
Police officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on the scene, has become a state’s witness and will testify against Rolfe, Howard said – an unprecedented development in a case against a former police officer. But a lawyer for Brosnan said he has not agreed to be a prosecution witness and had not pleaded guilty to anything.
Brosnan faces three charges, including aggravated assault. Howard said Brosnan admitted he stood on Brooks’ shoulders after he was shot.
Brosnan’s lawyer, Amanda Clark Palmer, said the charges against him were baseless. She said Brosnan stood on the wounded man’s hand, not his shoulder, for a short period of time, seconds, to make sure Brooks did not have a weapon.
Howard said they are recommending Rolfe not receive bail.