Tucked into the murder charges for the fired Atlanta cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black man last week was the allegation of him literally adding insult to injury.
Prosecutors said in court on Wednesday that after Garrett Rolfe shot Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot, he reportedly exclaimed, “I got him!” and walked over and kicked him. That was before the other officer on the scene allegedly stood on Brooks’ shoulder after he was shot. Neither officer rendered any first aid for minutes. Brooks would later be pronounced dead from his injuries.
It was the latest instance in a disturbing series of cops openly disrespecting their victims in the moments after using lethal force in situations that didn’t call for it.
Rolfe was hit with 11 criminal charges, including felony murder, for his role in Brooks’ shooting. The other cop, Devin Brosnan, was charged with aggravated assault (and two other felonies) for allegedly stepping on Brooks’ shoulder.
Brooks was found sleeping in the fast-food drive-thru and failed a sobriety test before he broke away from and fled the officers when they tried to handcuff him. He managed to grab a Taser from one of the cops, but since it had already been deployed its maximum amount of twice there was no risk of it being fired again. That means that Rolfe should not have feared for his life and resorted to lethal force. In fact, Brooks’ family argued that police should have simply ticketed him and called him a taxi to go home considering his offense was nonviolent. Instead, Rolfe took aim and shot Brooks in the back as he ran away from the officers.
It was reminiscent of a police shooting in Indianapolis last month when cops shot Dreasjon “Sean” Reed in the back as he fled. Reed was live streaming himself on Facebook at the time that he was shot. But what police apparently did not know was that even after they shot and killed him was that they were still being recorded in footage that contains audio of the cops involved sharing a joke over his dead body. Cops are heard on the video joking and mocking Reed’s appearance after shooting him by saying that his will be a “closed casket” funeral.
There was also the egregious instance of police in Florida shooting an unarmed Black man while he had his hands up and laid on the ground in an act of submission. Charles Kinsey, a 47-year-old social worker in Miami, was trying to de-escalate police responding to reports that his autistic patient was armed with a gun. Instead, officers shot Kinsey in the leg. While Kinsey did not die, he said cops handcuffed him instead of rendering first aid on him.
“They flipped me over, and I’m faced down in the ground, with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come.” Kinsey said at the time. “I’d say about 20, about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there. And I was like, bleeding — I mean bleeding and I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Then, of course, there is the infamous and still very recent police killing of George Floyd, during which Derek Chauvin nonchalantly and methodically killed the unarmed, handcuffed 46-year-old Black man who was suspected of the nonviolent crime of using a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis. Chauvin not only had his hands in his pockets while kneeling on Floyd’s neck in an extreme sign of disrespect but he also brazenly looked directly into the cellphone cameras recording him killing Floyd. Chauvin offered the equivalent of a shrug when bystanders repeatedly warned him he was killing Floyd.
This is America.