Less than a year after the murder of Rayshard Brooks and the glorious summer of rebellion here in Atlanta and across the country, killer cop Garrett Rolfe has been reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board. Rolfe shot and killed Brooks, a Black man, in a Wendy’s parking lot on June 12, 2020.
“The Board concludes the Appellant was not afforded his right to due process,” states the decision. That same board reinstated Atlanta investigators Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, who were fired over the tasing of college students Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young during protests last summer.
This rotten system has no shame!
What due process was Rayshard Brooks afforded when he was shot in the back? What consideration was he given when the police stomped on him as he lay dying on the pavement?
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said of Rolfe’s firing: “Given the volatile state of our city and nation last summer, the decision to terminate this officer, after he fatally shot Mr. Brooks in the back, was the right thing to do. Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse.”
This shows that there’s no power like the power of the people. We forced them to fire that killer cop.
But after receiving push-back from this racist system, the mayor ordered the destruction of the Rayshard Brooks Memorial in return for a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention. And after all hopes were dashed to erect a Rayshard Brooks Peace Center in place of the burned-down Wendys where he was killed, the community suffered from demoralization.
The conviction of Derek Chauvin, the killer of George Floyd, is another example of the power of the people. But we can’t count on any bourgeois politicians — they will sell us out every time.
We must continue to fight back. Rolfe still faces murder and many other charges in the killing of Brooks. On the evening of May 5, an immediate protest took place outside City Hall in response to the Atlanta Civil Service Board’s decision. The group held signs and photos of Brooks, demanding justice for him and other Black and Brown people killed by police.
It’s interesting that the same week this killer was reinstated to his position in the Atlanta Police Department, Mayor Lance Bottoms announced she will not run for re-election.