Atlanta erupted in flames, literally, this weekend as the community responded to the police-involved killing of a Black man, Rayshard Brooks.
A 27-year-old father of three, Brooks was shot in the back by an officer while fleeing from the scene and after aiming a Taser at the pursuing cop.
The night’s events are under investigation, but video released to the public shows that Brooks was asked to take a sobriety test, failed it, and when one of the officers attempted to cuff him, Brooks tussle with them and grabbed the Taser.
As reported by theGrio.com, Officer Garrett Rolfe shot Brooks after he pointed the Taser in his direction. Brooks fell and witnesses said that instead of calling for help, the officers tried to cover up the scene by picking up the shells from the gun.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lane Bottoms took swift action, firing Rolfe and accepting the Atlanta Police Department chief’s resignation.
But one law enforcement leader from a nearby town believes Bottoms acted too quicky and that Officer Rolfe was in the right.
Burke County, Georgia, Sheriff Alfonzo Williams says the shooting of Rayshard Brooks was “completely justified.”
“There’s nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved,” he says, adding that this case can’t be compared to those of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/Px6hwdffZN
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) June 16, 2020
CNN interviewed Sheriff Alfonzo Williams of Burke County, GA about the shooting. He believes that the former office acted appropriately. Williams also believes that Brooks is being used as a tool by local politicians to stay relevant in the national conversation.
Williams said, “Having 30 years in the business of law enforcement and 27 of those years [I’ve] taught use of force [to] hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement officers across the State of Georgia and other states.”
“We saw on the video that Brooks was engaged in a fight with the officers. We know that when we are on the ground, we have a very high likelihood of being hurt or killed. It is not the place that we want to be.”
Williams went on to say that enforcing the law is not a wrestling match, but real serious work that boils down to life and death: the cop’s life and whoever else’s death. In this case, it was the man who had just woken from his sleep.
“Brooks is able to take a nonlethal weapon, a taser away from the officers and he flees and they give chase.” Williams reminds the CNN audience, “He committed two felonies of obstruction of an officer and he needs to be held accountable.”
“So they were perfectly justified in running behind Brooks to capture him.”
The Black sheriff says that he has been the head of three law enforcement agencies and that as a part of the training of his ranks, he requires every “officer who carries a Taser to be tased with it.”
He shares that this is important so that they understand that they will be incapacitated should they be struck.
On the broadcast, Williams says you are down for five seconds after you’re stung by a Taser and demonstrates how officers count the seconds for emphasis. He says that an officer hit by a Taser would not have been able to respond to Brooks if he decided to run back to him and hurt him.
“So he did what he needed to do and this was a completely justified shooting.”
“It was very necessary. The 4th amendment allows it. There was nothing malicious or sadistic the way these officers behaved.”
However, Twitter says differently. Almost immediately people responded calling him a “coon” for his position.
— Daddy Choc (@DaddyChoc) June 16, 2020
Then we have folks like sheriff Alfonzo Williams who support the officer and believes officers shouldn’t have to chase suspects, that lethal force was necessary. Sick.
— M.G. McGee (@QC2PHILLY) June 16, 2020
Alfonzo Williams Burke County Sheriff should be removed first for wearing 1980 paisley on national tv and 2nd for cooning on the Rashard Brooks case.
— Jack (@njck88) June 16, 2020
Instead of interviewing a small town (<25,000 ppl pop.) Sheriff regarding what happened in Atlanta (>4,000,000 ppl pop.) do better.
— Tara Linney🌍 (@TaraLinney) June 16, 2020
Williams, who shared that he went to high school with Ahmaud Arbery‘s mother, maintains that the Brooks case is totally different than the other cases that have dominated the news over the last few years. Yet he also believes that white officers do use more force with Blacks suspects than Black ones.
He just had no idea why they do, blaming it on experiences, movies, media and possibly on whether or not they are “learned.”
(Photo: Burke County PD, Atlanta PD bodycam screenshot)
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