Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

A sign for Rayshard Brooks is placed at the memorial in front of the Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police on June 16, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

'Police Have Not Been Treated Fairly,' Says Trump in Defense of Cop Who Shot Rayshard Brooks in the Back

The president's comments came hours after the now-former Atlanta officer was charged with felony murder.

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump late Wednesday came to the defense of the now-former Atlanta officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot last week, blaming the victim for not fully cooperating and declaring that "police have not been treated fairly in our country."

"You can't resist a police officer, and if you have a disagreement, you have to take it up after the fact," Trump said in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. "It was a very sad—very, very sad—thing. Look, uh, you take a look, it was out of control, the whole situation was out of control."

The president went on to describe as "very interesting" a claim by fired officer Garrett Rolfe's lawyers that he "heard a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him" before shooting Brooks in the back as the man attempted to flee.

"Again, you can't resist a police officer like that, and they ended up in a terrible disagreement, and look at the way it ended," Trump said. "Very bad. Very bad."

Trump's comments came hours after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. announced that Rolfe has been charged with felony murder for the killing of Brooks, which sparked massive protests in Atlanta and led to the resignation of the city's police chief.

During a press conference unveiling the charges against Rolfe Wednesday afternoon, Howard said Brooks "never presented himself as a threat" in his encounter with police last Friday, much of which was captured on video.

"For 41 minutes and 17 seconds, he followed their instructions, he answered questions," said Howard.

Rolfe exclaimed, "I got him" after shooting Brooks in the back twice, kicked the victim, and failed to quickly provide medical attention, Howard said. Devin Brosnan, Rolfe's partner, stood on Brooks' shoulder after Rolfe's gunshots fatally wounded him, according to prosecutors. Brosnan, who remains on the Atlanta police force, faces an aggravated assault charge.

"I was told as a kid that you don't kick a man when he's down," Justin Miller, a lawyer representing Brooks' family, said during a press conference Wednesday. "What you saw and what we all saw is one officer standing on a man who is dying, standing on top of him, and then the other officer literally kicking him while he's on the ground dying."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo