Georgia AG rejects prosecutor's request for Rayshard Brooks case to be reassigned

Georgia AG rejects prosecutor's request for Rayshard Brooks case to be reassigned
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Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R) on Tuesday rejected an earlier request from a district attorney seeking to be removed from the case into the police officers involved in the June killing of Rayshard Brooks

In a letter dated Tuesday to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and shared with The Hill, Carr writes that Willis’s letter late last month requesting that her office be taken off the Brooks case, as well as one against six officers involved in an earlier incident, did not provide adequate reasoning for the office to be “disqualified from these cases by interest or relationship.”

Willis in her letter late last month cited the investigation into former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, who has been charged with several offenses including felony murder in connection with Brooks’s killing, as well as fellow officer Devin Brosnan, who has been charged with aggravated assault and two counts of violating his oath. 

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Willis cited concerns about the behavior of her predecessor, Paul Howard, arguing that he “obtained arrest warrants against the following defendants for incidents that occurred during the campaign.” 

“I believe his conduct, including using video evidence in campaign television advertisements, may have violated Georgia Bar Rule 3.8(g)," she added. 

“In addition, as you are aware, my predecessor’s conduct also prompted a referral to the GBI for criminal investigation by you his issuance of grand jury subpoenas at a time when no Fulton County Grand Jury was empaneled,” she continued.

Willis added in the letter that Howard’s actions “create sufficient question of the appropriateness of this office continuing to handle the investigation and possible prosecution of these cases.” 

However, Carr wrote in his letter responding to Willis Tuesday that those concerns relate specifically to Howard, and not to Willis or her current role as Fulton County’s district attorney. 

“While I understand the concerns that you have raised, those concerns relate to a potential violation of a rule of the State Bar of Georgia by your predecessor and a potential criminal investigation of your predecessor,” Carr wrote, adding, “Both appear fairly obviously to be matters that are personal to your predecessor in office and that do not pertain to you or your office.” 

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The attorney general went on to say that, therefore, his office “will not be proceeding to appoint a prosecutor for these cases,” adding that the responsibility for overseeing them remains in the hands of Willis’s office. 

The Hill has reached out to Willis’s office for comment.

The attorneys representing Brooks's family -- L. Chris StewartChris StewartNew mask guidelines trigger backlash It's time to call the 'Ghost Army' what they are: Heroes Students sue Atlanta police after being shocked with a stun gun, pulled from car MORE and Justin Miller -- said in a statement shared with The Hill that they planned to meet with Willis next week to discuss next steps for the case.

"While we were disappointed that the Fulton DA made the decision to request a transfer of these cases, we were hopeful that Attorney General Carr would give them to a prosecutor who would pursue these cases vigorously," the attorneys said. "Now we are left in a state of limbo. Our clients deserve better."

Viral social media footage from Brooks’s killing captured the June incident, in which Rolfe can be seen shooting at Brooks, striking him twice in the back in a Wendy’s parking lot as Brooks attempts to run away from Rolfe and Brosnan.

Brooks’s death occurred less than three weeks after the police killing of George Floyd, further fueling nationwide protests against police brutality and racism in the United States.

Updated on Feb. 10 at 12:06 p.m.