A private funeral will be held Tuesday for Rayshard Brooks, the black man who was killed by a white police officer in a fast-food parking lot at the church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr once preached.
Brooks’ gold coffin was escorted by a black and white hearse, and featured a poster saying “Killed in Atlanta, Georgia 2020.”
The king’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, was expected to make comments in the private service, along with a friend of Brooks, her mother-in-law, and the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is also a Democrat. Senate candidate.
Rayshard Brooks was not just running away from the police. He was running away from a system that makes people slaves. A system that does not give ordinary people who have made mistakes a second chance, a real chance at redemption, “Warnock plans to say, according to a short excerpt published Monday.
Officer Garrett Rolfe fatally shot Brooks in the back after Brooks fired a Taser in his direction as he fled after a fight with officers outside a Wendy’s restaurant on June 12. Rolfe, 27, is white. Brooks, 27, was black.
The Rev. Bernice King also plans to comment at Brooks’ funeral, along with a friend of his and his mother-in-law, according to a draft of the program released by the church.
“Ebenezer is a parish for all people, a sanctuary for those who suffer,” Warnock said in a statement when the funeral plans were first announced. Rayshard was not a member of our church, but he and his loved ones are part of our family. We seek to embrace, comfort and walk with them in the coming days. “
Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry has offered financial aid for the services, according to that statement. Popular gospel singers Smokie Norful, Tamela Mann, and Kurt Carr are expected to perform at the Tuesday service.
When officers responded to complaints about a car blocking Wendy’s driveway, they found Brooks asleep in the car. Police body camera video then showed Brooks and officers having a calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes.
After conducting sobriety tests in the field, Rolfe told Brooks that he had “taken too much to drive.” Brooks resisted being handcuffed, and he and the two officers fought on the ground. Brooks grabbed one of his Tasers and fired in his direction as he fled.
An autopsy found that he was shot twice in the back.
Rolfe was fired and the other officer, Devin Brosnan, 26, was put on guard duty after the shooting. Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks’ death.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced 11 charges against Rolfe, including a serious murder, and said the officer kicked Brooks while he was dying. Brosnan, who the prosecutor said stood on Brooks’ shoulder while fighting for his life, is charged with aggravated assault and violation of his oath.
The lawyers for both men said their clients’ actions were justified.
Acting Police Chief Rodney Bryant said he was surprised that Howard filed charges so quickly, before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation finished investigating the shooting. The GBI said in a tweet after Howard announced the charges that the agency was not consulted on the charges.
Both Rolfe and Brosnan turned themselves in on Thursday. Brosnan was released on bail. Rolfe was being held without bail.
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, a black man who died of an illegal choke carried out by a New York police officer in 2014, told CNN that “he is standing[s] with [the Brooks family] in solidarity. “
“I am very, very understanding and empathetic to the loss of your loved one,” she said. “That young man should not be dead, in my opinion, he was doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to cause his death. It really wasn’t a threat. “