The family of Rayshard Brooks — a 27-year-old black man who was killed by white officer Garrett Rolfe at a Wendy’s in Atlanta on Friday night — are taking a stand against “excessive force” from police.
At a press conference in Atlanta on Monday, several relatives of Brooks — who was shot by Rolfe after authorities said Brooks had seized a Taser from an officer and fired it as he ran — spoke to the press about Brooks’ death.
In her address, Rayshard’s cousin Tiara Brooks demanded “justice,” as well as “drastic change” regarding police reform.
“The trust that we have with the police force is broken, and the only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change with the police department,” Tiara said.
“How many more protests will it take to ensure that the next victim isn’t your cousin, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your friend or your companion so that we can finally end the suffering of police excessive force?” Tiara continued.
Rayshard Brooks’ niece echoed Tiara’s sentiment, adding, “I’m not only asking the city of Atlanta to stand with us — I’m asking everyone in this nation to stand with us as we seek justice for Rayshard.”
In her speech, Rayshard Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller admits it will be a “long time before” she and her family can cope with Rayshard’s passing.
“There is no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what’s been done,” Tomika said. “I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend.”
While thanking protesters for their love and support, Tomika urged demonstrators to keep their efforts “peaceful” in order “to keep [Rayshard’s name] positive.”
At the press conference, one of the family’s attorneys, L. Chris Stewart, announced that Tyler Perry offered to pay the cost of Rayshard’s funeral.
The Friday shooting occurred after authorities were dispatched to a Wendy’s in South Atlanta and found Rayshard asleep in his vehicle. Rayshard was parked in the drive-through, which caused other customers to drive around him.
On Sunday, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Rayshard’s death to be a homicide, and listed his cause of death as organ damage and blood loss from two gunshot wounds to the back.
That same day, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN that a decision to file charges against Rolfe could come midweek.
While Rolfe has since been fired, Devin Brosnan, another officer on the scene, has been placed on administrative duty. Erika Shields, Atlanta’s police chief, has also resigned.