Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms faced criticism on Wednesday (May 5) after the city’s Civil Service Board announced Garrett Rolfe would be reinstated on the police force. Rolfe is currently facing felony charges for shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks last June.
Brooks’ family and protesters criticized the board’s decision to reinstate Rolfe when murder charges are still pending against him.
“Right now, officer Rolfe has received more justice than the family of Rayshard Brooks,” attorney Justin Miller said yesterday, as reported by REVOLT.
The Atlanta Civil Service Board claimed city officials failed to follow proper procedure when they fired Rolfe without a 10-day notice. One lawyer said it was “mind-boggling” that officials were unaware of this protocol when firing Rolfe, since it ultimately led to his reinstatement.
However, Mayor Bottoms responded to the criticism and defended the city’s decision to fire Rolfe the day after he killed Brooks.
“Given the volatile state of our city and nation last summer, the decision to terminate this officer after he fatally shot Mr. Brooks in the back was the right thing to do,” she said Wednesday. “Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rolfe will not return to street duty or be allowed anywhere near police headquarters despite being reinstated. Per the conditions of his bond agreement, he's not allowed to possess a firearm or have any contact with other police officers.
In a statement, the Atlanta Police Department said Rolfe will instead be placed on leave. He’ll also be paid 11 months of backpay for the time that he was fired and his salary will be the same as it was before his termination.
“It is important to note that the CSB [Civil Service Board] did not make a determination as to whether officer Rolfe violated Atlanta Police Department policies,” the police department’s statement read. “In light of the CSB’s rulings, APD will conduct an assessment to determine if additional investigative actions are needed.”