Rayshard Brooks: No charges in police killing that sparked protests

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Garrett Rolfe conducts a field sobriety test on Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's restaurant car parkImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Rolfe conducted a sobriety test on Mr Brooks in the car park

The 2020 police killing of a motorist in the car park of a Georgia fast-food restaurant was legally justified, a special prosecutor has ruled.

Rayshard Brooks, 27, was fatally shot about three weeks after the killing of George Floyd sparked international racial justice protests.

Brooks, who was black, was gunned down after fighting with two white officers who were trying to arrest him.

Civil rights groups said a grand jury should have reviewed the case.

Brooks was detained during a traffic stop outside a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta on 12 June 2020.

Bodycam footage shows that he was asleep at the wheel and blocking a drive-through lane when officers approached.

For around 41 minutes of questioning, Brooks complied with the officers' requests. After he failed a breath test the officers moved to arrest him on suspicion of drink driving, and he began fighting them.

CCTV shows he grabbed a Taser from an officer, then turned and fired it at them as he ran away.

Officer Garrett Rolfe opened fire on Brooks, hitting him twice in the back. He had initially faced 11 charges related to the death, including murder. If convicted, he could have faced the death penalty.

Officer Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violation of oath.

Peter Skandalakis, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said on Tuesday that the shooting was justified because the Taser would be considered a deadly weapon.

He added that race was not believed to be a factor.

The leader of the local chapter of the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights group, criticised the ruling, saying: "Race is absolutely a part of it."

A lawyer for the two officers said they were relieved that the state had "finally made the right decision".

After the shooting, the Wendy's restaurant was burned down and the site was briefly taken over by protesters.

Amid the disturbances a month later, an eight-year-old girl, Secoriea Turner, was fatally shot while being driven near a barricade erected by gang members.