Rayshard Brooks was not an innocent man, he very clearly committed multiple crimes and, as such, did deserve to be arrested. However, in spite of that, his killing on 6/12/2020 was not justified in comparison to the crimes he committed.
Let us review the crimes he has committed according to the video and police report, and compare them with the sentence we would have gotten if he was convicted by a jury. The shooting took place in Georgia, so we’ll be using Georgia state law as much as possible. For that matter, since assume this police officer did not have Brooks’ police record on him, we’ll assume he’s a first time offender.
- He (might have) drove drunk, which would give him a DUI conviction. Under Georgia law, the most he can get for that is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. So not worthy of a death sentence.
- He had fallen asleep in a Wendy’s parking-lot. Under Georgia law, that is a misdemeanor of which a conviction may bring (again, at most) a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
- He had assaulted an officer. Considering he did not do so with a firearm the state of Georgia could punish him with between five and twenty years in prison.
- He had stolen the taser from the police officer arresting him. While I am not a lawyer, this situation seems to closest resemble theft by taking. This is worthy of between one year and ten years in prison, assuming the property is worth more than $500. We’ll assume the police officer, again, for the sake of argument, has a super valuable mega-expensive taser.
- Lastly, he resisted arrest. According to Georgia law, this is worthy of between one and five years in prison.
Assuming Rayshard got the book thrown at him, he would get thirty seven years in prison. (He could have also gotten as little as seven years in prison, but we’ll ignore that and assume the worst.) Unless Rayshard was forty or older at the time (he wasn’t), it’s very likely he would have finished his prison sentence before dying and be allowed back into society.
Garrett Rolfe, the man who shot Rayshard, simply had no reason to do what he did. Ignoring the fact that police are not suppose to be a judge, jury, or executor, even the strictest judge would have not given this man the death sentence he did. The point of police is to arrest people who could be breaking the law, afterwards they will get a trail where the person who was arrested will be allowed to defend himself.
At worst, you let a man run around with a taser — something you can buy easily in the United States — for a short period of time. The best defense for these actions is that maybe Rayshard could have killed Rolfe. Ignoring the fact that Rayshard was running away from Rolfe, police have bullet proof vests on at all times in case someone steals their guns. Yet, somehow, police are unable to survive a less dangerous weapon in their arsenal?
The always tone deaf New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the following over the weekend:
People are still out protesting. You don’t need to protest. You won. You won. You accomplished your goal. Society says, you’re right. The police need systemic reform.
This was said by Cuomo on 6/13, Rayshad was shot on 6/12. Once again, Cuomo is one of the worst kinds of people.
Meanwhile, Matt Walsh just finds it outrageous that people disagree with this shooting:
“You should be able to assault a police officer, steal his taser and fire it at him without getting shot” is an incredible position, and one that many people are actually taking. The world has lost its collective mind.
Rayshad didn’t actually fire at Rolfe, for the record. In fact, he was running away from Rolfe, which would make it quite hard for Rayshad to shoot at Rolfe.
But even then, the issue is not that he was shot, or punished, or anything else. The issue was that he was killed. As I have shown, none of the crimes Walsh listed are worthy of a death sentence.
Oh, and by the way, attempted murder in the state of Georgia is only worth a prison sentence of between ten and twenty years. Even if your slam dunk argument is “Rayshard tried to kill Rolfe,” first off, no, not really, second off, even then that is not worthy of capital punishment.
In the actual video Walsh posted, the video I’m basing my response off of, the camera is simply too far away to really tell what Rayshard did with the police while he was on the ground. This is not the fault of the police, mind you, but as someone who believes in innocent until proven guilty, a guy screaming is not evidence that I would use in a court of law.
I’m sorry, but while Rayshard was in the wrong the response was simply disproportional to what Rayshard did. He engaged in basic resisting arrest, stole a non-lethal weapon, and was slightly drunk while engaging in loitering. This is not a man who deserved death. Punishment, yes. Death, no.