Rayshard Brooks, a black man, was killed by two white officers in Atlanta on Friday night, in an incident that has added fuel to the fire of protests against police brutality and racism. The police received a call that Brooks was asleep in his car, blocking a Wendy’s drive-through, and after he failed a sobriety test, they attempted to handcuff him. He resisted, stole an officer’s Taser, and ran. Video footage showed that “officers pursued Brooks on foot, and during the chase Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.” He later died after surgery at a nearby hospital. Brooks’ death has been labeled a homicide.
The Left largely condemns the officers’ use of deadly force, but some admit the case is arguable. “(Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable,” said District Attorney Paul Howard. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stated, “While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a distinction between what you can do and what you should do.”
“It’s a questionable use of force, but there are many officers who may find this a lawful use of force. So, it’s one of those things we call in law enforcement ‘lawful but awful,’ meaning that the officer could have taken alternative action that did not result in the civilian’s death.’’Kalfani Ture, Quinnipiac University Criminal Justice assistant professor
Some on the Right argue deadly force was permissible but believe other measures could have been used instead.
“That video is disturbing to watch, but I’m not sure that it’s as clear as what we’ve seen around the country on some of the other issues that have driven us to the point where we’re actually having a serious conversation around police reform.”Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, agreed that it “is not a clear-cut circumstance.” Colorado Police Sgt. Rob Pride said he believes according to most “agency standards,” this would have been considered a deadly force encounter, noting the incapacitating capabilities of a stun gun. He added, “And when folks resist arrest like this and try to escape, the outcomes are unpredictable.”