The former Atlanta police officer accused of shooting Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot is suing the mayor and interim police chief for firing him, claiming the dismissal violated not only his constitutional rights but also city code.
Garrett Rolfe filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court in which he claims he was unfairly ousted from the force “without an investigation, without proper notice, without a disciplinary hearing, and in direct violation of the municipal code of the City of Atlanta.”
Rolfe was fired on June 13, a day after he fatally shot Brooks. The 27-year-old faces 11 charges, including felony murder.
He was granted bond on June 30.
In a statement, Rolfe’s attorneys say that the City of Atlanta “wilfully and blatantly failed to abide” by city ordinances designed to give employees due process as well as the opportunity to plead their case before they are fired.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, have asked a judge to revoke Rolfe’s bail because he traveled to Florida without permission – a violation of the conditions of his bond order.
Police body cameras showed Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, having a calm conversation with Brooks for more than 40 minutes after complaints that the 27-year-old Black man had fallen asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane on June 12.
But when officers told him he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted. A struggle was caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fled, firing the Taser at Rolfe as he ran away.
An autopsy found Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Brosnan, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath and is also free on bond.
Rolfe’s lawsuit, which was first reported by the Daily Report, argues that Rolfe used deadly force “within the scope and course of his duties” in response to “Brooks’ violent, unlawful, aggressive resistance to a lawful arrest.”
The lawsuit says that Rolfe could only be disciplined or terminated for cause and that he has a right to due process. The proper steps, outlined in the city code, were not taken before Rolfe was fired by then-Chief Erika Shields, who resigned the same day.
The lawsuit also notes that Brosnan and many other Atlanta police officers who have been charged with crimes have remained employed while their criminal charges were pending.
The lawsuit also claims Rolfe “has become a public spectacle and object of ridicule” and asks the judge to hold a hearing and to order that Rolfe be immediately reinstated with back pay and other benefits.
Atlanta police on Wednesday declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors received an email Monday afternoon from one of Rolfe’s attorneys notifying them that Rolfe had traveled to Florida for vacation, according to the motion to revoke his bond. A location report from the company that owns the ankle monitor Rolfe is wearing shows that he left home early Sunday and was in Daytona Beach, the motion says.
Prosecutors aren’t aware of him having been granted permission to travel and they argue that Rolfe “has clearly shown that he will not abide by the conditions of bond imposed by the Court.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.