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Sheriff Alfonzo Williams of Burke County, Georgia said the use of lethal force against Rayshard Brooks was “completely justified” and is being over-hyped as a “senseless political” weapon.
Brooks was shot as he attempted to flee Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan. The shooting occurred after Brooks resisted arrest after failing a sobriety test, stole one of the cops’ Tasers, and attempted to shoot it in Rolfe’s direction.
The cops were responding to a 911 call because an intoxicated Brooks had fallen asleep at a Wendy’s drive-through and was blocking traffic.
Amid public outrage, Rolfe was immediately fired. He has since been charged with 11 criminal counts, including felony murder. Rolfe could face the death penalty.
Here’s the full video. Cops were polite, reasonable. Brooks assaulted them, stole a taser, shot the taser at them multiple times, and finally was killed. If you’re trying to make these cops into racist killers, you’re just a dishonest person.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 14, 2020
Sheriff Williams says Officer Rolfe reacted properly in the face of lethal violence.
“There’s nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved,” Williams told CNN. “It’s very unfortunate that the law enforcement leaders in Georgia have not come out and stood together on this case. It’s political and it’s senseless.”
Sheriff Williams said scapegoating Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe is sending the wrong message to black youth. It’s a message that will have deadly consequences both for the black community and police officers.
“We’re sending the wrong message to our black youth,” Williams said. “We’re telling them that it’s OK — that they can run from the police, that they can take a weapon from the police, they can fight with the police, and point their weapon at the police — and expect nothing to happen. That is the wrong message to send to black youth.”
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said based on his vast experience in law enforcement, taking a taser from a police officer endangers both the cop and public safety.
“This is the third law enforcement agency I’ve been head of,” Williams said. “Every agency I’ve gone to, I’ve required every officer who carries a Taser to be Tased with it, so that you understand the incapacitation.”
He explained: “Five seconds; 1,001, 1,002, 1,003, 1,004, 1,005. That’s five whole seconds that if an officer is hit with that Taser that he — all of his muscles — will be locked up. And he’ll have the inability to move and to respond. And yet he is still responsible for every weapon on his belt.”
Williams added: “If an officer had been hit, he still has a firearm on his side. And the likelihood of him being stomped in the head or having his firearm taken and used against him is a probability. So [Garrett Rolfe] did what he needed to do. This was a completely justified shooting.”
The media are conflating the justified shooting of Rayshard Brooks with the unjustified killing of George Floyd. And Sheriff Williams agrees that in Floyd’s case, there were “very clear, outrageous violations of policy and law.”
In contrast, “what happened in the Brooks case is completely justified, 100%,” Williams said.
Sheriff Williams also pointed out that — contrary to the media narrative — police are not targeting black men.
“When an officer goes to work every day, he’s not concerned about whether a perpetrator is black or white,” Williams said. “He’s there to do a job.”
A 2019 nationwide study conducted by Michigan State University and the University of Maryland concluded: “We find no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings. White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers.”
Joseph Cesario is the study’s co-author and a professor of psychology at Michigan State University. He said: “There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support that black citizens are more likely to be shot by white officers.”
Cesario added: “We found that the race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot. If anything, black citizens are more likely to have been shot by black officers.”
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