OPINION | High Noon in Atlanta: the Killing of Rayshard Brooks

A Black man falls asleep in his car at a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia. Police are called, a tussle ensues. The man is shot and killed at the hands of the police. A Black man being senselessly murdered by police officers are the stories our children have grown up on. Hansel and Gretel be damned.

The violence is so prominent and cyclical that we no longer need to ask the probing questions leaving us to simply move along the same line as yesterday, because often the tragedy is the same. We are living in the most egregious and racist form of Groundhog Day that can be imagined.

Rayshard Brooks, is dead. Please let that sink it. Pause a moment, for a few seconds longer than Garrett Rolfe, his killer, did before shooting Mr. Brooks. Another family has been forced to live without a loved one—children without a father, a wife without a husband. It is all worthy of pause.

Both officers have been charged. Former officer, Garrett Rolfe, had previously been reprimanded for a firearms incident. We are our behaviours.

Let’s be clear, Mr. Rolfe was not a longtime veteran of the force nor was he a rookie. He was an officer of the law, not the law itself. His job was to protect, not deal out frontier justice. There could be arguments made about this incident, mitigating factors any good defense attorney could expose, but the facts are the facts.  Officers searched Mr. Brooks and found no weapons, they had his name, address, and various other pieces of identification should Mr. Brooks flee. That same information could have been used to track him down, instead, he was shot down. Two bullets in the back. These facts are undisputed, nor the photograph that appears to show Mr. Rolfe kicking his victim in the head, after he had been shot as he lay dying in the parking lot.

Arrest warrants have now been issued for Mr. Rolfe and his former partner, Mr. Devin Brosnan. Both men have until 6:00 pm. tomorrow to turn themselves in. For the rest of us, it will be dinner time, quitting time. Maybe another day where, if you are a person of colour, you have dodged a gunfight, made it home alive. But 6:00 pm. will be high noon for these two men, where the law, the very tenets they appeared to flout so wantonly, will hold each man accountable.

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k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer.

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