Burke County, Ga. Sheriff Alfonzo Williams argued Tuesday that Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was “completely justified” in using lethal force against 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, whose death has sparked a new round of protests and controversy over policing and racial discrimination in the U.S.
Brooks was shot as he attempted to flee Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, who had attempted to arrest Brooks after he failed a sobriety test. Brooks had stolen one of the officers’ Taser and attempted to fire it in Rolfe’s direction as he ran.
“This is the third law enforcement agency I’ve been head of,” Williams, who is black, told CNN. “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.”
“Five seconds; 1,001, 1,002, 1,003, 1,004, 1,005. That’s five whole seconds [when] 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.
“So, if that 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 was a probability. And so he did what he needed to do. And this was a completely justified shooting.”
“So you think lethal force here was necessary?” CNN anchor Brianna Keilar asked. Williams said it was and argued that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution allowed that type of force. “There’s nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved.”