ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) — The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks was concerned he would face charges after firing three shots during the August 21, 2015 car chase and arrest, according to dash camera footage obtained by CNN.
Garrett Rolfe is facing felony murder and other charges related to Brooks’ killing outside an Atlanta fast-food restaurant two weeks ago.
The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks was concerned he would face charges after firing three shots during a 2015 car chase and arrest, according to dash camera footage obtained by CNN. https://t.co/muVTuJZNUi
— CNN (@CNN) June 26, 2020
In the footage of the 2015 shooting released by the Fulton County Public Defender’s office and in a statement after the incident, Rolfe said he worried the Black suspect, Jackie Jermaine Harris, would hit Rolfe or another officer with his truck.
Pictures of the crime scene show the man’s truck partially atop a police cruiser, blood in the interior, gunshot holes in the truck windows and windshield, and shattered glass everywhere.
Just after the incident, Rolfe can be heard saying, “I shot like three times” and a couple of minutes later he said “that second time he came at us I know I hit him at like three times.”
Rolfe is heard saying, “He was going to hit me or one of you with the truck, I mean the shots were through the windshield.” He also said, “you know how the media is” and is later heard saying “with the atmosphere they are going to charge us (expletive), the way (Fulton County DA) Paul Howard is.”
For much of the recording Rolfe is heard trying to urgently and unsuccessfully call the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which is routine for officers after shootings. A female officer is heard throughout the video trying to calm Rolfe.
Rolfe’s gun was discharged three times, and the other two officers each discharged their firearm once, according to the investigator supplement report CNN has obtained from the Public Defender’s office.
Harris pleaded guilty to charges including theft, fleeing arrest, property damage, and damaging a police vehicle, and received probation, according to court records.
‘Nowhere in the police report does it say anything about my being shot’
Harris was shot in his back, according to court testimony. CNN reached out to police who say the incident is still being investigated, nearly 5 years later. The police incident report only states that Harris was transported to the hospital “due to injuries during the incident.”
CNN has previously reported that Harris alleged that there was a coverup in his shooting since it was not mentioned on any of his arrest reports.
In January 2016, Harris sent a letter to Judge Doris Downs from jail while he was awaiting trial. “I was shot at numerous times, and struck once in the back by an Atlanta Police Officer. I had no weapon and didn’t try in any way to cause harm to the ofﬁcer,” Harris writes. “This Atlanta Police Ofﬁcer used unjustiﬁable lethal force against me. I also feel that the Atlanta Police Department is trying to cover up their wrongdoing. Nowhere in the police report does it say anything about my being shot or the lethal force that was used against me.”
Downs told CNN in an email last week that she referred the incident to multiple agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), both by email and telephone shortly after the hearing.
According to the court records, the judge and the assistant district attorney discussed probation because of the concern that the officers did not include the shooting in any of their reports.
DA decided to not pursue charges, according to letter
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced in February of this year that his office would not pursue criminal charges against Rolfe and the other two officers, according to a letter provided to CNN by Rolfe’s attorney.
“We have determined that there was no criminal conduct related to the actions of the above-named officer(s),” Howard’s letter to then-Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields reads. Howard also informed Shields that his office was not bringing criminal charges against any of the three officers. “Paul Howard cleared my client of any wrong doing,” Rolfe’s attorney Noah Pines told CNN in an email.
Harris condemned the unnamed officer who he believes shot him in his 2016 letter to the judge.
“Not only have l been wronged and unjustly caused bodily harm by a ‘Peace Officer’, but the lack of documentation by the Atlanta Police Department can only be conceived as a ‘cover up.’ Not only have I been wronged but society as well by allowing this officer to continue to patrol out streets of Metro Atlanta.”
Rolfe received an overall performance evaluation score of 4.53 out of 5 from July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 during the time the incident occurred.
©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to the story.