Talk:Killing of Rayshard Brooks

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Sources for expansion[edit]

General context

"The case comes amid US protests over police killings of black Americans."[1]

"The shooting provoked another wave of anti-racism protests."[2]

"His death came just weeks after Floyd, an unarmed, 41-year-old Black man, died while detained in Minneapolis. Floyd was pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd's neck while three other officers looked on. Floyd's death sparked national protests against police brutality and systemic racism."[3]

"The decision to prosecute came less than five days after the killing outside a Wendy’s restaurant rocked a city — and a nation — already roiled by the death of George Floyd under a police officer’s knee in Minneapolis late last month."[4]

"The news came on a day of rapid developments involving race and equal justice. Republicans on Capitol Hill unveiled a package of police reform measures. And the movement to get rid of Confederate monuments and other racially offensive symbols reached America’s breakfast table, with the maker of Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix dropping the 131-year-old brand."[4]

"A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says more Americans today than five years ago believe police brutality is a very serious problem that too often goes undisciplined and unequally targets black Americans."[4] (link to poll: [1])

"Videos of the confrontation between Mr. Brooks and the officers began circulating in a moment when Atlanta was already gripped by boiling discontent over the racial biases and discriminatory practices that bleed into virtually every facet of life for African-Americans. As protests were touched off across the country by the death of Mr. Floyd, amid a pandemic that has disproportionately affected African-Americans, the demonstrations in Atlanta were especially heated. Anger with the Atlanta Police Department deepened after a live television broadcast during one night of protests captured a scene of officers swarming two college students in a car, physically pulling a woman out of the passenger seat and firing a Taser at a man in the driver’s seat."[5]

"The killing has had rapid repercussions in Atlanta, one of many cities where protesters have called for an end to police violence and racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The officer who shot Brooks was fired and police chief Erika Shields resigned as exasperated protesters have called for justice."[6]

"The killing of the 27-year-old black man in an encounter with two white officers late Friday rekindled fiery protests in Atlanta and prompted the police chief’s resignation."[7]

"Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Saturday she doesn’t believe the shooting was justified. Police Chief Erika Shields, who joined the department as a beat officer in 1995, resigned. Brooks’ death inflamed raw emotions in Atlanta and across the U.S. following the May 25 police custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some public officials questioned whether shooting of Brooks was as clearly an abuse as Floyd’s death after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck."[7]

Analysis of charges

"The charges reflect a potential “sea change” in tolerance for violence by police, said Caren Morrison, a Georgia State University law professor who used to be a federal prosecutor. Morrison said the view until now has generally been that officers are justified in using deadly force in a case in which the suspect had a stun gun or other weapon that could cause “grievous bodily harm.” Later Wednesday there had been reports that Atlanta police officers were walking off the job or calling in sick in protest of the charges against Rolfe and Brosnan. The APD said in a Tweet that it is experiencing a higher than usual number of officers calling out for their shifts but that, “We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.”"[4]

"Legal experts said that the charges came surprisingly quick, and were significant for their severity, with punishment that could extend to life in prison or even the death penalty if Mr. Rolfe is convicted. “These are hefty, hefty charges,” said Jimmy Gurulé, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former federal and state prosecutor. The swiftness, he said, reflected a sense of urgency fueled by recent protests and broader efforts to shine a light on shortcomings in the criminal justice system."[5]

"The swiftness with which a white police officer has been fired and then charged with murder in the killing of Rayshard Brooks is just the latest sign of how rapidly and dramatically police agencies have shifted strategy when it comes to dealing with deadly force cases. Historically, not only have police chiefs been reticent to take action against officers involved in in-custody deaths until a "full investigation" had taken place, they've been quick to defend the officer's use of force if he or she "reasonably" believed that a person had a deadly weapon or posed immediate danger to the officer. In this case, video shows that Brooks had taken the officer's Taser and appears to use it. But not only is the weapon designated as less than lethal, the video shows he was running away and that the shots that killed him entered his back. Now the officer faces 11 charges, the question of whether or not a Taser should be considered a deadly weapon will surely come into play, as well as whether the officer had "reasonable" fear of Brooks. What is already clear is that police departments are not feeling nearly as confident relying on the old strategies and rhetoric that historically have allowed them to slow-play their response to a police-involved killing."[8]

"Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard took only five days to bring 11 criminal charges, including felony murder, against former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe for the death of a man who had fallen asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru line, resisted arrest and attempted to flee."[9]

"The charges against Brosnan were a surprise to many. On video depicting the incident, Brosnan, who joined the force less than two years ago, interacted politely with Brooks. Even after Brooks took off with his Taser, Brosnan didn’t reach for his gun."[9]


"Amid nationwide protests of racial inequality following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, the shooting of another Black man by white police officer, this time in Atlanta, has again reignited anger and calls for police reform."[3]

"By early Saturday morning, news of Brooks’ death started to circulate, leading to protests in Atlanta, with the epicenter at the Wendy’s where the incident occurred. Several hundred people gathered in the parking lot. Some chanted "say his name" and carried signs that read "He didn’t deserve to die" and "convict the killer cop." The restaurant was closed to patrons."[3]

"The peaceful protest suddenly turned violent around 8:30 p.m. after riot police arrived, toting guns. Some protesters began surrounding one police car and rocking it. Other protesters surged on the police and troops without touching them, forcing the law enforcement officials to walk backwards from the crowd. After a few minutes, law enforcement officials released several canisters of tear gas into the crowd, sending protesters fleeing. Protesters later shut down an interstate highway in both directions and set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."[3]

"Brooks’ killing Friday night sparked new demonstrations in Georgia’s capital against police brutality after occasionally turbulent protests over Floyd’s death had largely died down. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks died, and the Wendy’s restaurant was burned."[4]

"The shooting reignited the anger and frustration undergirding the mass protests over the past few weeks. The Wendy's where the shooting took place was set aflame on Saturday night, and in another part of the city, a major interstate was shut down after protesters marched onto a connector and were met by lined up police vehicles."[6]

"Mr. Brooks’s name was soon invoked in demonstrations across the country alongside other African-American people who died in violent encounters with the police, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change, said charges were largely possible because of the “millions of people who protested all over the country for justice.”"[5]


  1. ^ "Rayshard Brooks shooting: US policeman faces murder charge". BBC News. June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "Rayshard Brooks: What happened before police shot him dead?". BBC News. June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Reyes, Lorenzo (June 16, 2020). "What we know: Timeline of Rayshard Brooks' death, protests and fallout from incident at Atlanta Wendy's". USA Today. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Brumback, Kate (June 17, 2020). "Officer charged with murder for shooting Rayshard Brooks". Associated Press. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Rojas, Rick; Fausset, Richard (June 17, 2020). "Former Atlanta Officer Is Charged With Murder in Shooting of Rayshard Brooks". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Waldrop, Theresa; Levenson, Eric; Maxouris, Christina; Sutton, Joe. "Autopsy report says Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back, lists manner of death as homicide". CNN. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  7. ^ a b Bynum, Russ; Anderson, Brynn (June 14, 2020). "'Stop fighting!' Atlanta sobriety test quickly turned deadly". Associated Press. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Lussenhop, Jessica (June 18, 2020). "Why this case is different". BBC News. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Boone, Christian; Stevens, Alexis; Rankin, Bill (June 17, 2020). "Fulton DA charges former APD cop with murder in Wendy's shooting". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 19, 2020.

Above are some sources and quotes for expansion, should it be useful. Most of these sources are already in the article. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 07:20, 31 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal: restore "kicked" sentence to lead[edit]

I propose restoring Based on these videos and witness reports, prosecutors claim that after Brooks was shot, Rolfe kicked Brooks and Brosnan stood on his shoulder. to the lead. The content was added June 21, modified to its current form June 22, and removed August 25.

  • Support as proposer. The lead summarizes the body, including the charges against the officers, and this is part of the body. Rolfe kicking Brooks, and Brosnan standing on his shoulder, are two allegations that are highlighted by pretty much every single secondary source about the charges, second only to the actual shooting, and more prominent than the failure to provide prompt medical attention. These are the allegations; they're leadworthy; they're WP:DUE; properly attributed; properly sourced in the body; and they've been part of the lead pretty much since the charges were announced. Lev!vich 04:15, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This proposal clearly goes against WP:BLP and WP:BLPCRIME by selectively emphasizing as-yet unproven details from an active case. Because it has been covered in news reports, it is included in the body of the article. It is only mentioned off-hand in the sources that do; the coverage focuses on the shooting and the events just preceding. The lead describes the nature of the charges, the event, and the active case. That is plenty sufficient detail, and we don't need to start highlighting the prosecutor's specific allegations, and especially not inflammatory and unproven ones. There is WP:NODEADLINE and we can wait until a conviction is secured or the facts of the case are proven before we begin picking and choosing which are the most important. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 17:47, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per WP:LEAD. The lead is meant to give a brief overview and is meant to be NPOV. It would violate NPOV to mention the allegation without mentioning that Rolfe denied it and the DA could not produce this video evidence when challenged (, but to explain this properly is too much detail for the lead. It should all be included in the body though, for the reasons Levivich gives. FirstPrimeOfApophis (talk) 18:22, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Request procedural close by opener or neutral observer Striking in favor of vote. It is too early to initiate a vote on a proposal for content that is so clearly problematic at this point in time. Unproven facts are going to emerge throughout the trial. Some may be true, some not. The point of the lead is not to be a rotating cycle of whatever the latest incriminating factoid to emerge is. This obviously violates BLPCRIME as already noted, and NPOV. Once the trial is complete and there is a conviction, acquital, or plea, we might decide to indicate what the determinative facts were in the lead. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 18:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We had this long conversation on your talk page about this, where you told me to take it to the article talk page, and you even took me to ANI for not taking it to the article talk page, and now I take it to the article talk page, and you want the proposal to be closed in less than 24 hours? WTF? This is the exact reason why I asked you and over and over to tell me what your definition of "consensus" is and how we get there. I knew no matter what next step I took, you would claim that it was somehow improper. Lev!vich 18:04, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll take that as a no. I don't want to get into anything other than the content & proposal. If I'm wrong, then so be it, but in my opinion, this is obviously contrary to BLPCRIME and BLP writing style. Whether or not the officer "kicked" Brooks—obviously the prosecutor has alleged that to bolster the case, presumably to show some kind of malice—is unproven part of an ongoing trial. The only justification you've presented so far are somewhat conclusory statements that it's "DUE" and "leadworthy." The main sources on this do not place the emphasis on this you allege—it's one part of the case along with many other yet-to-be-established pieces of information. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 19:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's the basis for the charges. One count of aggravated assault against Rolfe is for the alleged kick, and one count of aggravated assault against Brosnan is for the alleged standing on the shoulder. Additionally, these felony charges are the predicate felonies for the felony murder charge against Rolfe. Telling the reader the factual allegation that forms the basis of a felony charge, in an article about the case, is not a BLP violation, not by a long shot. If your interpretation were correct, whenever we wrote about someone being criminally charged, we couldn't say what the charge was because it's unproven. That's nonsensical. Lev!vich 20:27, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your summary of the case is frankly a little misleading and inaccurate; that's a problem when we're discussing a living person and an active criminal case. The fact that Brooks was shot and killed is the basis for the entire case. Aggravated assault against the officers were ancillary charges, and in Rolfe's case, the basis for, at least one of the aggravated assault charges, was the use of his taser.[2]. Your information is simply wrong, and the content you're pushing for selectively emphasizes info that is both non-central to the case and unproven. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 20:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please strike your false accusations. Here are just four of the seven sources cited in the paragraph in our article, quoted for your convenience, starting with the leads of each article (paragraphs condensed):
New York Times, starting with the lead of the article:

A former Atlanta police officer was charged on Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault in the killing last week of a black motorist outside a fast-food restaurant, and prosecutors revealed chilling new details of the late-night encounter, including that the officer kicked the dying man after shooting him twice in the back. The former officer, Garrett Rolfe, faces a total of 11 charges in connection with the death of the motorist, Rayshard Brooks. The shooting, which was captured on a widely circulated video, has prompted the resignation of Atlanta’s police chief and further inflamed the tensions over race and policing that are roiling the nation. At a news conference on Wednesday to announce the charges, prosecutors said that Mr. Rolfe declared, “I got him,” after firing the fatal shots at Mr. Brooks. Mr. Rolfe kicked the victim, prosecutors said, while his partner stood on the fatally wounded man’s shoulder. Mr. Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan, both of whom are white, then failed to render aid for more than two minutes, said Paul L. Howard Jr., the Fulton County district attorney.

AP, starting with the lead of the article:

Prosecutors brought murder charges Wednesday against the white Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back, saying that Brooks was not a deadly threat and that the officer kicked the wounded black man and offered no medical treatment for over two minutes as he lay dying on the ground ... The felony murder charge against Rolfe, 27, carries life in prison or the death penalty, if prosecutors decide to seek it. He was also charged with 10 other offenses punishable by decades behind bars. ... A second officer, Devin Brosnan, 26, stood on Brooks’ shoulder as he struggled for his life, Howard said. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.

ABC, starting with the lead of the article:

The fired Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant violated at least seven police department policies governing the use of force, including kicking the victim after allegedly shooting him in the back and failing to immediately administer medical aid, a prosecutor said Wednesday. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that warrants have been issued for former police officer Garrett Rolfe on 11 charges, including felony murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and seven violations of his oath by a public officer. Warrants were also issued for another officer involved in the fatal confrontation, Devin Brosnan, on two counts of violations of oath by a public officer and one count of aggravated assault ... Howard said that even after Brooks was shot, Rolfe and Brosnan continued to violate department rules. He showed a photo that captured Rolfe allegedly kicking Brooks on the ground and Brosnan standing on the dying man's shoulders.

AJC, starting with the lead of the article:

The former Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks was charged Wednesday with felony murder and 10 other offenses in his death, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said ... The other charges against Rolfe include five counts of aggravated assault, one count of first-degree criminal damage to property and four counts of violation of oath by an officer, according to arrest warrants released by the DA’s office. A second officer present during the incident, Devin Brosnan, will face four charges, including a count of aggravated assault and three counts of violation of oath, the warrants said. The DA said Rolfe kicked Brooks after the shooting and that Brosnan stood on Brooks’ shoulders while he was on the ground “struggling for his life.” Howard said there’s video evidence they did this while waiting minutes to administer first aid to the dying man. ... Brosnan, who is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the GBI’s investigation, has agreed to testify for the state against Rolfe, the DA said. He also admitted to standing on Brooks’ shoulders following the shooting, saying that his intention was to stand on his arm, according to Howard. However, Brosnan’s attorney, Don Samuel, told that “it’s absolutely untrue.”

These are just four examples; there are many others. My summary is not misleading or inaccurate. Even the USA Today article you link to notes Newly revealed video evidence of Rolfe kicking a dying Brooks on the ground and Brosnan standing on his shoulder could make them look callous in the eyes of a jury. Nor am I selectively emphasizing details. The details in the article are the details emphasized by nearly all the sources: the kick, the standing on the shoulders, the failure to administer medical attention, the "I got him" quote, the failure to inform him he's under arrest... all of these allegations are the allegations discussed in multiple top-notch sources like The New York Times. That's what this article is built upon. Lev!vich 21:14, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Levivich: We have already established that sources mention the alleged kick; The issue, to state it again, is undue weight. Even in this list of cherry-picked sources with cut-out sections, none them treat the disputed kick as a stand-alone, central fact of the case as you have suggested—they are the basis of an ancillary charge, among others. Heavily advocating and pushing for selective and unduly weighted content about disputed, BLP-sensitive information is not what any well-written article is built upon. See my vote below. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 21:21, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, not "MENTION", I'm quoting THE LEADS. These articles START with these details. The first sentence of The New York Times article announcing the charges is: A former Atlanta police officer was charged on Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault in the killing last week of a black motorist outside a fast-food restaurant, and prosecutors revealed chilling new details of the late-night encounter, including that the officer kicked the dying man after shooting him twice in the back. Emphasis mine. Face-smile.svg Lev!vich 21:22, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In every instance you have provided, the sources mention the kick allegation along a myriad of other details. And why is this detail most important to you among the others they mentioned? The lead is not the place for a detailed explanation for each of the whole host of allegations and charges, and it is absolutely not a vehicle to selectively promote or emphasize sensationalized and unproven allegations. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 21:41, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Details that are in the lead of the sources should also be in the lead of our article. Lev!vich 21:44, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, apples to oranges. We do not base our lead on cherry-picked sources reporting on what was news a few weeks ago and isn't today. The Wiki lead is a concise summary of the article in its entirety. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 21:55, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Um if something were a BLP violation it would not matter if it were in the lead or in the body. That's just on its face an absurd argument to make. nableezy - 01:32, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is wrong. Weight is just as much a part of BLP as sourcing. Undue weight can violate BLP. WP:BLPSTYLE, WP:BLPBALANCE. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 15:13, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: This little bit of info re-added to the LEDE gives much additional info to the reader, per DUE, and as long-standing content should not have been removed without consensus to do so. Regards, GenQuest "Talk to Me" 20:36, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@GenQuest: A few weeks is not longstanding, nor does that make BLP-sensitive content immune from challenges and removal. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 20:48, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, in case it wasn't clear. This is simply too rushed and at the wrong time. There are nearly a dozen charges against the officer. The "kick" is the basis of but one allegation. Another is that his use of the taser was illegal, that he didn't provide timely medical aid, etc. All of this is unproven and right now the focus of a case. When the trial is resolved, we will be able to sort the crucial details from the non-crucial ones. Until then, WP:NODEADLINE and WP:BLPCRIME counsel patience and conservative writing, not sensationalism. Wikieditor19920 (talk) 21:00, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support – I do not see any issues of WP:V or WP:UNDUE. The text is careful to attribute the allegation to the prosecutors. The "kick" also features prominently and repeatedly in reliable sources showing that it has the due weight we are giving it. Both The New York Times and understandably feature it in the lead paragraph of their coverage because it is obviously very relevant. The video indicates we have no reasonable suspicion that the allegation is not true. The proposed text makes no claim the "kick" was criminal. I see no reason to exclude the text from the lead. --- C&C (Coffeeandcrumbs) 22:31, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The wording being proposed for inclusion is extreme, premature, and unjustified given the current sourcing available. It is seriously debated whether an actual kick transpired. Bus stop (talk) 17:25, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Drugs found in car should be in lead[edit]

The "People involved" section that immediately follows the lead notes that: "a drug possession conviction could have led to revocation of his probation and a return to prison." This is important, as a host of RS mention his possible fear of future imprisonment likely motivating his desperate acts. But no mention is made of the illegal drugs found in his car (or his blood) until the penultimate "Prosecution" section. It seems the mention of drugs needs to be included in the lead, but wanted to make sure others agree. Thanks! Elle Kpyros (talk) 16:17, 8 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 08:12, 30 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]