Just days after the killing of Rayshard Brooks, newly released court records revealed that former police officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed Brooks, has been cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting of another man in 2015.
Citing court documents, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the older case was investigated by Atlanta police and turned over to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who cleared the officers involved — including Garrett Rolfe — in February.
Records from Fulton County court show officers failed to mention they fired multiple shots into a moving truck as the driver was trying to get away, in the incident report. The Driver, Jackie Harris, was shot in the center of his back.
The police incident report said only that “Mr. Harris was transported to Grady [hospital] due to injuries during the incident.”
In the seemingly detailed report, officers described the equipment that identified the truck as stolen, the specifics on the chase, officers on scene, a failed attempt to break the truck’s window, the equipment used after to break it, Harris moving to the passenger side of the truck to “avoid detainment”, and more. The report even ended with a sentence about how one of the officers sustained a finger injury from striking the truck window.
But missing information was what the court was troubled by, according to WWLTV.
Judge Doris Downs said from the bench, “None of the police put in the report that they shot the man – none of them – and they sent him to Grady with collapsed lungs and everything, and the report doesn’t mention it. I am ethically going to be required to turn all of them in,” according to the station.
Court records show that Rolfe fired three of the five shots into the truck. The final disposition for that internal investigation however, is blank on the report that Atlanta Police provided.
Because the prosecutor admitted there were concerns over the officers’ credibility in the case, Harris was given two years probation in a 2016 plea deal, even though the defendant was charged with multiple felonies.
Here’s the DA’s statement:
This just in: District Attorney Paul Howard only recently CLEARED Garrett Rolfe and the other Atlanta officers in a 2015 shooting, four and a half years later. The DA's decision to charge Rolfe for last Friday's shooting of #RayshardBrooks was made within five days. pic.twitter.com/QZD5wEjmD6
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) June 19, 2020
Rolfe was also cleared of a number of citizen complaints after the department investigated and had a number of minor car wrecks, some his fault.