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The widow of Rayshard Brooks spoke out on Monday, three days after her husband was shot in the back and killed by an Atlanta police officer in a Wendy’s parking lot, in an incident that has already resulted in protests and the resignation of the city’s police chief.
“I want them to go to jail. I want them to deal with the same thing as if it was my husband who killed someone else,” Tomika Miller said in an interview with CBS News. “If it was my husband who killed them, he would be doing a life sentence. They need to be put away.”
Brooks, 27, was shot by Officer Garrett Rolfe on Friday night when Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan, attempted to arrest Brooks on a DUI charge, after Brooks fell asleep in a Wendy’s drive-through. Brooks had stolen a taser and fired it at the officers, but was running away with his back turned when Rolfe shot him. Rolfe has been fired from the APD and Brosnan has been placed on administrative leave.
An investigator from the medical examiner’s office said Brooks had died of gunshot wounds to the back, and declared his death a homicide. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said on Sunday the decision whether to bring charges against the officers could come by midweek. Howard told CNN that Rolfe could face felony murder charges.
Miller said she wants both officers charged. “It was murder. It was not justified,” she said.
“I feel like even though everything happened so fast, it didn’t take nothing but a split second for the other officer to say, ‘Hey, calm down,” Miller said. “So all of them need to be sentenced the same way.”
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney who represents Brooks’ family, told CBS News that police shootings of Black people keep happening because “the idea of policing and its relationship to African-American communities has never been formed, never been perfected, never been connected. It’s more of an authoritarian system when it comes to minorities.”
Growing emotional, Miller talked about her husband’s killing in the context of the recent uprisings against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Rayshard Brooks, just like George, everybody, we are all the people, we are all God’s children,” she said. “We all have a purpose to serve, and no one is better than anyone.”
“I never imagined it being in my front door. I never imagined it being me, having to do this and go through this,” Miller said. “And I honestly feel — I felt the pain [for George Floyd’s family], but now I really feel the pain.”