Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was charged with felony murder, so his cop friends decided to be petty.
Trigger Warning: Racism, Police Brutality
Garrett Rolfe, now a former police officer from the Atlanta Police Department, was charged with felony murder for fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in the back twice. Brooks, another unarmed Black man, was shot simply because he had fallen asleep in his vehicle while at a drive-through. After Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced 11 charges against Rolfe, police officers in three of the Atlanta Police Department's six zones had completely stopped answering emergency phone calls from residents of the Georgia city, CNN reports. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had to request them to honor the commitment they made to their community.
"There's a lot happening in our cities and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly," Mayor Bottoms said. "[But] we expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities." She claimed that the city's police officers were experiencing a decrease in morale - despite the fact that the city committed a big pay raise to their officers. Reportedly, several officers had called out, choosing to not show up to work. The Mayor reassured residents that this did not make the city any less safe. She stated, "We do have enough officers to cover us through the night. Our streets won't be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out. But it is just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers."
It is not clear exactly how many police officers had called out. In a tweet, the Atlanta Police Department clarified that officers had not just walked off of the job. "Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate," the department posted. "The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call-outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents." Nonetheless, this is rather hard to believe if the Mayor had to make a statement and ask officers to honor their commitment.
It is quite disheartening to see that the city's police officers would use petty tactics such as this one in order to protest a fair charge against an officer who blatantly committed a crime. Video footage displays Brooks cooperating with the officers before being threatened. After Rolfe shot the victim, he yelled to his partner, "I got him!" The charge is quite rare as well; few White police officers are ever charged for the murders they commit of unarmed Black men. To learn that the officers were promised a pay raise in spite of this truth, especially when all across the country responsible government officials are defunding their police departments, is additionally deplorable. Nonetheless, Rolfe currently faces charges of felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault, four counts of violation of oath of office, and one count of criminal damage to property. Meanwhile, his partner Devin Brosnan will be subject to an aggravated assault charge for standing on Brooks in the parking lot and two counts of violation of oath of office.