Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick said Garrett Rolfe, 27, could be released as he awaits trial. She said the predominant issue in setting bond was whether a defendant would show up to court and said Rolfe could have fled following his arrest but instead turned himself in.
Rolfe must wear an ankle monitor and has a strict 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
His attorneys argued that he should be released on bond because the evidence against him shows he was justified in using deadly force and because he is a “longstanding, law-abiding member of this community who will stay here to fight this case.”
Rolfe was charged with felony murder and 10 others offenses for his role in the June 12 shooting of Brooks. Rolfe turned himself in on June 19 and has been in custody ever since.
His attorneys Noah Pines and Bill Thomas told Barwick that they had “significant evidence” to prove Rolfe was legally justified in using deadly force against Brooks.
Rolfe arrived at the Wendy’s parking lot in South Atlanta after Officer Devin Brosnan, who had responded to a 911 call, found Brooks asleep in his car at the drive thru. Rolfe, a certified DUI officer, spoke at length to Brooks before having him take a field sobriety test.
Brooks, who was on probation, had remained mostly calm during his interactions with Brosnan and Rolfe. However, when he was asked to put his hands behind his back, he tried to run.
All three men fell to the pavement and as they struggled, Brooks took Brosnan’s Taser and tried to fire it at the officer’s head. He then ran through the parking lot. When Brooks turned back, he pointed the Taser at Rolfe and pulled the trigger. Rolfe pulled out his gun and fired three times, hitting Brooks in back twice.
Following the shooting, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard seemed to side with Brooks, creating a rift between the police department and the people they are supposed to protect. While announcing the charges, Howard said Rolfe kicked Brooks as he lay dying and said Brooks had been cordial and cooperative with the cops for more than 41 minutes before being shot by Rolfe.
Howard said Rolfe should have known the Taser had already shot its only two electrical probes and that the officer was not in immediate danger — a contention Rolfe’s attorneys have pushed back strongly on. They argue that he was justified in using deadly force if he had probable cause to think that Brooks had committed a crime involving the “infliction or threatened infliction” of serious physical harm.
The charges against Rolfe were announced prior to the conclusion of an investigation into the incident by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which was asked to perform an independent investigation into the matter — customary when there is an officer-involved shooting.
Rolfe’s attorneys fees are being paid by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, a national nonprofit based in Virginia. He’s also getting funding from the Georgia Law Enforcement group, which claimed it had already raised the money needed for Rolfe’s defense.
Bronsnan, the other officer at the scene, faces four charges, including aggravated assault for standing on Brooks’ shoulder and three others related to violations of oath. He faces up to 20 years behind bars.