Atlanta’s city council Monday approved a $1 million settlement for the family of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by police in a Wendy’s parking lot in 2020, attorneys for Brooks’ family announced.
The city council voted 15-0 to approve the settlement, according to a council spokesperson. Attorneys for Brooks’ family said in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday they were disappointed prosecutors didn’t pursue criminal charges against the officers, but they still hope the Justice Department will intervene.
“The family of Rayshard Brooks is pleased to have reached a settlement with the city of Atlanta that resolves their civil case,” the statement said. “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.”
Atlanta Police Department officers were called to the scene in June 2020 when Brooks fell asleep in his car at the Wendy’s and spoke with him for about 40 minutes. After Brooks failed a sobriety test, the officers tried to arrest him. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fired it as he fled before he was shot during the confrontation captured on video.
His death came just weeks after the murder of George Floyd and reignited demonstrations in Atlanta against police brutality and racial injustice.
Atlanta police chief Erika Shields resigned, Officer Garrett Rolfe — who shot Brooks — was fired and the other officer present was placed on administrative duty. But the Atlanta Civil Service Board later reversed Rolfe’s firing because it found the city failed to follow its own procedures for disciplinary action.
Rolfe initially faced charges including felony murder, aggravated assault and violation of his oath. Officer Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath. In August, a special prosecutor announced he would not pursue charges against both officers, saying he didn’t believe race played a role in the shooting and that the use of deadly force was “objectively reasonable.”
Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September 2021. Councilman Dustin Hillis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the settlement would effectively dismiss the lawsuit against the city.
“The city attorney has done an extensive review of the facts on the law and has determined that the city of Atlanta’s potential financial exposure in defending plaintiff’s claims is in excess of the settlement amount,” Hillis told the outlet.
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Contributing: The Associated Press
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