ATLANTA • A former Atlanta police officer was charged on Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault in the fatal shooting of a black motorist outside a fast-food restaurant, another violent encounter captured on video that further inflamed tensions over race and policing that are roiling the nation.
The former officer, Garrett Rolfe, faces 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, for the shooting death of Mr Rayshard Brooks, prosecutors said.
At a news conference on Wednesday, prosecutors said that Rolfe, who is white, shot Mr Brooks twice in the back and then declared, “I got him”, and kicked Mr Brooks as he lay on the ground.
Rolfe and another officer involved in the confrontation, Devin Brosnan, then failed to render aid for more than two minutes, said Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard Jr.
Brosnan, who remains on the police force on administrative duty, was charged with three counts, including aggravated assault and violations of his oath.
Mr Howard said Brosnan stepped on Mr Brooks’ shoulder while he lay on the ground. The district attorney added that Brosnan was cooperating in the investigation.
The killing took place on June 12 after police were called to a Wendy’s restaurant, where Mr Brooks, 27, had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through line.
In announcing the charges against the officers, Mr Howard said: “Mr Brooks never presented himself as a threat.”
Within 24 hours of the shooting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that she did not believe it was justified, leading to the firing of Rolfe and the resignation of the city’s police chief Erika Shields.
But as protesters swarmed the streets with renewed intensity, including burning the Wendy’s outlet, demands swelled to bring criminal charges against the officers.
Prosecutors said they reviewed video evidence of the encounter that was recorded by bystanders and by police body and dashboard cameras.
During Mr Brooks’ interactions with the officers, Mr Howard said, he appeared to be “slightly impaired” but “his demeanour during this incident was almost jovial”.
Mr Brooks failed a sobriety test, the authorities said, and then struggled with the officers as they tried to arrest him.
A video posted on social media showed him grappling with the two officers. After he threw a punch, one officer appeared to try to stun him with a Taser.
Mr Brooks broke loose and ran away, appearing to hold one of the officers’ Tasers.
Rolfe chased after him, holding another stun gun.
Then, in one video, several gunshots were heard.
“For 41 minutes and 17 seconds, he followed their instructions; he answered questions,” Mr Howard said of Mr Brooks, adding that Mr Brooks was never informed that he was under arrest for driving under the influence.
In an emotional news conference on Monday, Mr Brooks’ family urged prosecutors to bring charges and for the police department to overhaul its practices.
“The trust we have for the police force is broken,” his cousin Tiara Brooks told reporters.