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About 170 Atlanta officers called out sick after cops were charged in Rayshard Brooks' death

About 170 Atlanta police officers called out sick in the days after a pair of city cops were charged in the shooting death of...

Posted: Jun 29, 2020 3:42 AM

About 170 Atlanta police officers called out sick in the days after a pair of city cops were charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, according to police roll call worksheets.

Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after he shot Rayshard Brooks twice in the back on June 12, was charged five days later with 11 counts, including felony murder and aggravated assault.

Devin Brosnan, the other officer at the shooting, faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly standing on Brooks after the shooting in a parking lot.

The roll call sheets show the 170 officers were out sick from June 17, when Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges, through June 20. The department has about 2,000 officers.

The killing of the 27-year-old man came amid nationwide protests calling for an end to racism and police violence against Black people. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down from her position in the wake of the death.

"The public should know that's a significant amount of police officers who did not come to work during that time period," retired Atlanta Police Det. Vince Velasquez told CNN affiliate WSB-TV.

The police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the day the officers were charged, multiple Atlanta Police Department sources told CNN officers were not responding to calls in three of the department's six zones.

The department denied the claim but a police union official confirmed that, in some instances, officers were refusing to leave their precincts unless a fellow police officer required backup.

On June 19, a majority of Atlanta police officers scheduled to work in two police zones did not report for work, according to law enforcement sources.

As a result of the low staffing, the department put officers normally assigned to major crime units on the street, in uniform, to answer 911 calls, the sources said.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged that morale was down among officers but said the city had enough officers to keep the streets safe.

Vince Champion, the southeast regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers union, said last week he received calls from officers saying they were calling out and walking off their shifts.

"Some were just refusing to leave the precincts unless an officer needed help, so it was different things," Champion said. "They're just fed up."

Rolfe was a member of a special traffic enforcement unit, which Brosnan requested come to the scene when he suspected Brooks might be intoxicated.

Attorneys for both officers have said they are not guilty.

Both officers had gone to a fast-food restaurant for a complaint that Brooks was parked and asleep in the drive-through lane. He failed a sobriety test, and when they tried to arrest him, he scuffled with them and grabbed Brosnan's Taser, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

A video of the incident shows Brooks running as he appears to point the Taser in the direction of Rolfe, who shoots him twice in the back.

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