Widow of killed Rayshard Brooks: ‘I felt everything that he felt’

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ATLANTA — Just like the rest of America, when Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced charges Wednesday against two Atlanta police officers in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, was hearing them in real time.

How after shooting Brooks twice in the back, Garrett Rolfe kicked Brooks, a black man, as he lay on the ground dying. How another officer, Devin Brosnan, stood on Brooks’ shoulders. How the officers waited two minutes and 12 seconds before giving Brooks any medical attention.

“I was very hurt,” Tomika Miller said, fighting back tears. “Because I couldn’t imagine what I would have done if I had seen that for myself. But I felt everything that he felt, just by hearing what he went through. And it hurt. It hurt really bad.”

But she also was “grateful” for the charges, she said at a press conference with family attorneys.

Last Friday, Brooks was shot by Rolfe following a scuffle outside of a South Atlanta Wendy’s.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms quickly fired Rolfe and accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields.

On Wednesday, Howard charged Rolfe with felony murder and 10 other offenses, including five counts of aggravated assault. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violations of oath of office.

Justin Miller, an attorney for the Brooks family, said even with the announcement of the charges, “this is not the finish line. This is the starting point.”

“America is not America for all Americans,” Justin Miller added at the same press conference.

He said the family, attorneys and protesters have to stay focused on the officers being convicted of all the charges.

“With these new revelations, I implore you to look into your heart and have empathy for another human being. Because that is who Rayshard Brooks is and was. He may not look like you, but he is another human being,” Justin Miller said.

As her attorneys talked, Tomika Miller stood silently and wept.

She and Brooks had three children, including one who celebrated her 8th birthday on the same day she found out that her father was dead.

“We have to find a way to make things right for the Brooks family and children,” Justin Miller said. “How do you find justice for three little girls who will never see their father again? How do you get justice for a little girl, who on her birthday every single year for the rest of her life will remember that that was the day she found out that her dad died?”

The family did not provide any details about possible funeral arrangements.

Howard’s announcement came hours after U.S. Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina’s Tim Scott, formally unveiled a policing reform proposal promising swift action on the legislation amid nationwide civil unrest and protests over police misconduct and racial injustice.

Referencing the proposal, Chris Stewart, another attorney for the Brooks family, said it doesn’t push far enough.

“We are gonna be back here next year,” Stewart said.

“Was this justice today?” Stewart asked about the charges. “Not yet.”


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