Atlanta to Pay $1 Million to Rayshard Brooks’s Family

The city of Atlanta agreed on Monday to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the widow and the estate of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2020, and whose death touched off nationwide protests.

The City Council’s unanimous vote came nearly three months after prosecutors determined that the two officers involved in the episode committed no crimes on June 12, 2020, when Mr. Brooks, 27, was shot by one of the officers in a Wendy’s parking lot. The Council also found that the use of deadly force had been reasonable.

Lawyers for Mr. Brooks’s family, from the firm Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, said in a statement that “although the children of Mr. Brooks have lost their father, settling the case will undoubtedly assist them with future plans as they come of age.”

They added that the family was “disappointed that prosecutors didn’t pursue a criminal case against the officers involved in Mr. Brooks’s death.”

Councilman Dustin Hillis said at a Council meeting on Monday that the settlement would be paid to Mr. Brooks’s widow, Tomika Miller; the Brooks estate; and the lawyers’ firm.

He added that the city attorney had determined that “the city of Atlanta’s potential financial exposure in defending plaintiff’s claims is in excess of the settlement amount.”

The family’s wrongful-death lawsuit had claimed that the killing of Mr. Brooks was “senseless and unjustified,” and that the city had violated his civil rights.

Mr. Brooks was killed about three weeks after a police officer in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd. The Atlanta killing spurred fresh rounds of street demonstrations in 2020 and became part of the broader national debate about the treatment of Black Americans at the hands of police officers.

The authorities said that Mr. Brooks fell asleep in his car in the drive-through lane on June 12, 2020. At first, the encounter between the officers and Mr. Brooks was calm. But after 40 minutes, the episode turned violent when the officers moved to arrest him. Mr. Brooks hit one of the officers, grabbed the other’s Taser, fired it and took off running.

A widely shared video captured the moment when one of the officers, Garrett Rolfe, who had worked with the department since 2013, fired his handgun three times while he was chasing Mr. Brooks, who fired the Taser he had seized as he ran.

Mr. Brooks was shot twice, in the back and buttocks, prosecutors said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died after surgery, the authorities said.

In the wake of the shooting, the Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting occurred was burned down after angry demonstrations, and the Atlanta police chief at the time, Erika Shields, resigned.

Officer Rolfe was initially charged with murder and 10 other criminal counts in connection with the fatal shooting of Mr. Brooks, and the other officer, Devin Brosnan, faced a number of lesser charges. But prosecutors announced in August that they would drop all charges.

Officer Rolfe was fired from the Police Department the day after the shooting, but reinstated in May 2021 by the city’s Civil Service Review Board.

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