By STEPHANIE EBBS, ABC News
(ATLANTA) — The former Atlanta police officer charged with the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot in June could be facing imprisonment for allegedly violating the conditions of his bond agreement.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard filed a motion Tuesday to revoke former officer Garrett Rolfe’s bond, after Howard ‘s office was notified that Rolfe had left the state “for a short vacation.”
“While his bond does not preclude out of state travel, we wanted to make you aware of this,” Rolfe’s attorney Bill Thomas wrote to members of Fulton County’s District Attorney Office on August 3, according to court documents.
After receiving the email, the state of Georgia contacted the company responsible for Rolfe’s monitoring. Rolfe’s location history indicates that he entered Florida the morning of August 2, the day before his lawyer’s email to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.
The District Attorney’s office said Wednesday that it was unclear if Rolfe had returned to Atlanta yet.
The state had no prior knowledge of Rolfe’s travel and said it is unaware of any special permission given by the court for travel outside of the jurisdiction, Howard said in the motion.
Rolfe was granted $500,000 bond on June 30, partly under the condition that he adhere to a curfew and only leave the home for medical, legal, or work reasons. Howard states in the motion that Rolfe “has clearly shown that he will not abide by the conditions of bond imposed by the Court.” He requested the judge revoke his bond and remand him to custody.
Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller says she was shocked to hear allegations that the former officer who gunned down her husband potentially violated court orders and went on a beach vacation.
“I was baffled when I heard about this. It was very hurtful. It let me know that Officer Rolfe did not care about what the judge had laid down, as well as caring about how anyone else would feel,” Miller said. “I’m hurt and again I’m just wondering when will justice be served. When will things change?”
Miller, who tearfully pleaded that the judge not grant Rolfe bond at the hearing in June, said something should be done in response to Rolfe’s possible bond violation.
Miller’ attorney, Chris Stewart, echoed her disbelief that Rolfe would go on vacation after killing Brooks and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I believe that a lot of us would love to be on vacation,” Stewart said. “And it was mind-blowing to see that Officer Rolfe decided to ignore the court rules and regulations and standards that have been set upon him for his bond.”
Stewart also questioned Rolfe’s lawyer’s reported defense that the judge did not explicitly state Rolfe could not leave the state.
“If that’s the situation, then the entire situation for bonds and the detail that’s needed in these is going to be tragically destroyed,” Stewart said. The judge, said Stewart, “was very clear that officer Rolfe was not supposed to leave the state.”
Stewart said he is waiting for the judge to enforce the law and he hopes that Rolfe’s bond will be revoked.
“Officer Rolfe should not be vacationing in Florida, which we believe is a full violation of his bond and furthermore shows the mental state of this officer to feel that he can just go on vacation after being charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks,” Stewart said.
Brooks was killed on June 12 after a Wendy’s employee called police to complain that Brooks was passed out behind the wheel of a car in the drive-thru lane, according to police.
Officer Devin Brosnan was the first to arrive on the scene and knocked on Brooks’ window but could not wake him up. Body camera video showed Brosnan opening the door and shaking Brooks awake.
Rolfe responded to the scene when Brosnan radioed a dispatcher saying he needed a DUI-certified officer.
When officers tried to put Brooks in handcuffs, Brooks struggled, wrestled with both officers on the ground, and then grabbed Brosnan’s stun gun.
Surveillance video showed Brooks running through the parking lot as the officers chased after him. While fleeing, Brooks appeared to shoot the stun gun at Rolfe, who drew his weapon and opened fire. Brooks died from two gunshot wounds to his back, the medical examiner determined.
Rolfe’s lawyers said the killing was in self-defense and that it was legally justified.
In a news conference in June, District Attorney Howard also alleged that video of the incident showed Rolfe kicking Brooks as Brooks lay dying on the ground, and Brosnan standing on Brooks’ shoulder. But during Rolfe’s bond hearing, another one of Rolfe’s attorney, Noah Pines, denied that Rolfe kicked Brooks after shooting him.
Brosnan, who has been placed on administrative leave from the police department, was charged with two counts of violations of oath and one count of aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Brooks’ shoulder after Brooks was shot by Rolfe. Brosnan surrendered to authorities on June 18 and was released on $50,000 bail.
One factor in the judge’s decision to grant Rolfe bond in June was her determination that he was not a flight risk. She noted that Rolfe did not attempt to flee after the Fulton County District Attorney announced murder charges against him on June 17, and she gave him more than a day to voluntarily surrender.
“We have the answer to that one,” Justin Miller, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said after being informed that Rolfe had left the state. “That is flight. He is actually gone.”
On Tuesday Rolfe’s attorneys began fighting another legal battle to reinstate Rolfe’s position with the Atlanta Police department.
Rolfe’s lawyers filed a petition seeking an order that would require the city of Atlanta to follow city ordinances which provide its employees with due process, including notice and an opportunity to be heard, before they can be fired in connection with allegations of misconduct, according to a statement.
“The City of Atlanta willfully and blatantly failed to abide by these ordinances, firing Garrett Rolfe within days of his lawful use of force on June 12, 2020,” reads a statement on behalf of Rolfe’s attorneys.
A representative for Rolfe’s legal team told ABC News they have no comment at this time on allegations he violated the conditions of his bond.
There is no hearing date set for Howard’s motion to revoke Rolfe’s bond.
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