One of the two Atlanta cops involved in the fatal arrest of Rayshard Brooks called the Black man’s death a “tragedy” and said Brooks was “friendly” and “respectful” before the encounter turned deadly. Interviewed alongside his lawyer on MSNBC on Thursday, officer Devin Brosnan was asked if he had a message for Brooks’ family. “I think this is tragic event, and it’s a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night,” he said.
Brosnan is charged with aggravated assault and violation of oath because he didn’t render aid for two minutes after Brooks was shot and initially stood on the shoulder of the dying man. Former colleague Garrett Rolfe is charged murder for shooting Brooks in the back. “My initial encounter with [Brooks], I felt he was friendly, he was respectful, I was respectful to him and I felt like he was someone who potentially needed my help and I was really just there to see what I could do for him, to make sure he was safe.” Brosnan declined to say if he considered letting Brooks—who was found intoxicated and asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru—walk home.
Lawyer Don Samuel said Brosnan will cooperate with investigators by describing what happened on that night but the charges against him were “preposterous.” Brosnan, who was concussed when Brooks hit him with a Taser, hid behind a car when he first heard gunshots, Samuel said. He didn’t know Brooks had been shot and initially put his foot on Brooks’ arm “for seconds” to make sure he was not armed. He then ran to get his first aid kit and started CPR on Brooks in less than two minutes, Samuel said. “And he gets charged with failing to render aid when all these other police officers are just standing there,” he said.