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The Atlanta cop who allegedly shot and killed Rayshard Brooks could face one or more murder charges including felony murder as early as Wednesday, according to the lead prosecutor in the case. Felony murder generally means a killing that occurred in the commission of an underlying serious crime.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard described Brooks, 27, as someone who “did not seem to present a threat to anyone” and “The fact that it would escalate to his death seems unreasonable.”
Based on autopsy results, Brooks’ death has been classified as a homicide as a result of gunshot wounds to his back that caused organ damage and blood loss. The officer who allegedly used deadly force was fired on Friday by Atlanta PD. Officials designated the other cop at the scene for administrative duty.
In a further development, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down from her job.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency in the investigation as it has jurisdiction over probes into police-involved shootings.
On Friday night, Cops responding to a report of someone asleep in a car at the Wendy’s drive-thru got into a scuffle with Brooks after they tried to arrest him for suspected DUI after Brooks took and failed a field sobriety test. A foot chase ensued, and Brooks allegedly grabbed one of the officers’ tasers. It’s as yet undetermined if Brooks actually fired the taser.
DA Howard described two potential charges against the officer, Fox News reported, that he may or may not have to choose between.
“One would be the murder charge in the state of Georgia. That charge is a charge that is directly related to an intent to kill. The second charge is felony murder and that is a charge that involves a death that comes as a result of the commission of an underlying felony. In this case, that underlying felony would be aggravated assault.”
Howard added that pursuing a charge of aggravated assault as a separate count might be unlikely. “I believe in this instance, what we have to choose between — if there’s a choice to be made — is between murder and felony murder.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a voluntary manslaughter charge might also be lodged against the officer. In the meantime, Georgia state legislators play to introduce legislation that would roll back qualified immunity for law enforcement officers along with use-of-force reporting requirements
Investigators are still sifting through body-cam video, cell phone video, and surveillance footage as they analyze what happened.
On Saturday night, an initially peaceful protest devolved into violence, resulting in the torching of the Wendy’s store.
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