The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks should not have his bond revoked for traveling to Florida because he was never ordered to stay at his home, his lawyers argued in a court filing Thursday.
Garrett Rolfe, 27, faces 11 charges, including felony murder, in Brooks’ killing on June 12. Rolfe was granted bond June 30.
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a motion asking Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick to revoke Rolfe’s bond, saying he had traveled to Florida for vacation without permission. The motion argues that Rolfe’s bond order “expressly states that the Defendant is only allowed to leave home for medical, legal, or work related obligations.”
That’s simply not true, Rolfe’s attorneys said in a response filed with the court. One of the conditions of his bond is that he have a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., with exceptions for work, attorney meetings or medical visits, they wrote, arguing that the law makes a distinction between home confinement or house arrest and a curfew.
“The State never requested that Garrett Rolfe be placed on house arrest/home confinement; nor did the State request that Mr. Rolfe be prohibited from travelling out of state,” the filing says.
Rolfe went to Florida on Sunday to visit his grandparents, his lawyers wrote. As a courtesy, his lawyers wrote an email to prosecutors the next day to let them know.
After a Fulton County district attorney’s office investigator went to Rolfe’s home, his lawyers tried to contact her and prosecutors, they wrote. After receiving no response, they emailed Barwick to explain the situation.
Without ever responding to phone calls or emails, prosecutors on Tuesday filed a motion to revoke Rolfe’s bond, his lawyers wrote.
Rolfe has since returned to Georgia, they said. He has complied with his curfew since his release from jail and did not violate the conditions of his bond, so his bond shouldn’t be revoked, his attorneys argued.
Police body cameras showed Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, having a calm and respectful conversation with Brooks for more than 40 minutes after complaints that the 27-year-old Black man had fallen asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane on June 12.
But when officers told him he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted. A struggle was caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fled, firing the Taser at Rolfe as he ran away.
An autopsy found Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Brosnan, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath and is also free on bond.
Rolfe, who was fired the day after the shooting, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit arguing that his termination violated his constitutional rights and the city code.