ATLANTA - A former Atlanta police officer charged in the deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks bonded out of the Gwinnett County Jail overnight, according to jail records.
In a hearing Tuesday afternoon, Fulton County judge Jane Barwick issued a $500,000 bond for ex-officer Garrett Rolfe. The bond comes with conditions.
Judge Barwick said that Rolfe would be required to wear an ankle monitor, surrender his passport, and would be subject to a curfew. Rolfe was ordered not to have any contact or communication with family members and/or witnesses involved in the case. The judge also ordered Rolfe not to have any contact with any other Atlanta police officer.
Rolfe waived his right to be physically present in the Fulton County courtroom. Instead, the bond hearing was held via Zoom.
Fulton County prosecutors asked for no bond, but if bond was granted, they asked for it to be $1 million with conditions, including:
- Rolfe must disclose where he is living
- give up the passcode to his phone
- wear an ankle monitor
- have no contact with the other officers at Wendy's
- turn over any communication between Rolfe and fellow officers since the shooting
- have a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- possess no weapons
Rolfe's defense asked the judge to give him a $50,000 signature bond, just like his co-defendant, Officer Devin Brosnan.
In asking for bond, defense attorneys said Rolfe was in an occupation that required him to be in court and there is nothing to suggest he would not appear now.
Garrett Rolfe (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
"The state's case at best is that in a second, in one second Garrett Rolfe made the wrong decision," said defense attorney Noah Pines.
Officer Rolfe's attorneys said he posed no danger to the community, there was no risk of him committing a felony or trying to intimidate witnesses if he was granted bond.
Fulton County prosecutors said Rolfe doesn't have a job, the case against him is "strong," and he now has more than $250,000 in cash donations that he could use to flee the state.
The defense argued that while the public has raised money for Rolfe, he does not have possession of those funds.
Prosecutors stated they have phone records showing Rolfe exchanged text messages with other APD officers after the shooting, but Rolfe and his attorneys have refused to give them the passcode for his phone to see their content. Prosecutors asked the judge to compel Rolfe and his defense team to give them the passcode, should she grant him bond.
"The shooting of Mr. Brooks in the back by Officer Rolfe was not justified," said Fulton County ADA Clint Rucker.
Rayshard Brooks' widow gave an emotional victim impact statement to the court.
"He was only 27-years-old and he had so much to live for," Tomika Miller said about her late husband. "My husband wasn't perfect, but he didn't deserve to die."
Miller requested the court not to grant bond, citing her health and her mental state. She said she should "not have to live in fear."
Defense attorneys filed new documents this week detailing the reasons the judge should grant their client bond. Rolfe faces a murder charge after the death of Rayshard Brooks.
The brief gave several reasons, one of them involving Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
Earlier this month, while announcing charges in a separate case, Howard described a police Taser as a deadly weapon. He then claimed the deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks wasn't justified, even though Brooks aimed a Taser at Rolfe.
According to Georgia law, a Taser is classified as a “less-lethal” firearm as they do occasionally cause death.
Rayshard Brooks, 27 (Photo: Family).
Six officers were criminally charged on June 2 when the district attorney made these comments.
The brief is dozens of pages long and includes arguments such as Rolfe being a long-standing member of the community and poses no flight risk.
His attorneys said he also needs the opportunity to help his legal team prepare for this case. They asked the judge to have him released from the Gwinnett County Adult Detention Center, where he was transferred to out of safety concerns, rather than be brought back to the Fulton County jail.
Attorneys for Brooks' family released a statement following the hearing that reads:
"While the family of Rayshard Brooks is disappointed that his killer was granted bond today, they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard.
"Rather than looking at this process as a series of 'wins' or 'losses,' it's imperative that we continue to push for systemic change within our criminal justice system. From hate crime laws being passed to increasing oversight of members of law enforcement...
"Our job is to ensure that positive change comes from this tragic situation. We will be diligent in our pursuit of justice for this family and will do everything in our power to make sure that Rayshard Brooks did not lose his life in vain."
The Fulton County District Attorney's Office issued the following statement following the hearing:
“Despite evidence presented at the hearing by the State that showed that former Officer Rolfe engaged in several text message conversations with Atlanta Police Officers shortly after the incident, the Court did not require Rolfe to turn over the password to his cell phone. However, the Court did remind Rolfe and his counsel that they are not allowed to disturb or destroy evidence contained in the cellphone.”