Murder Charges in Rayshard Brooks Case?
Fred: Page, how do you see all this?
Page: Well, Fred, I think it’s either murder or it’s nothing because there’s no question that when he fired his service weapon, he intended to kill Mr. Taylor. There’s no doubt about it. It wasn’t an attempt to shoot him in the leg, shoot him in the arm, fire off a warning shot. So he intended to kill him. Now, the only question’s going to be, “Was that justified? Was he in reasonable fear that he was about to be killed himself?” It is not just, I think this gets [inaudible 00:00:30] hurt someone else. Is Mr. Taylor, at that point, a risk of death or serious violent injury to the officer or someone else close by? If he is not, then you have no right to take his life.
Fred: So not only are the actions being evaluated, but you heard Paul Howard, if you listened to my interview with him earlier, he also said he is listening to the words and he heard in that videotape, the officer, Mr. Rolfe say, “I got him,” after the, you know, lethal fatal shot was fired. So Page, how does that assist prosecutors going after this officer?
Page: Well, clearly, Fred, it shows that the intent was there. I intended to shoot him. I intended to kill him. Now, again, the officer, I’m sure, is gonna say, “My actions were justified.” And I will promise you this, but for those videos that were made on the scene, we wouldn’t be talking about this. There wouldn’t be any considered prosecution of this officer because there was at least some attempt by the individual to pull some sort of weapon and aim it towards an officer. Last year, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, that would have been the end of the story. But now, we’ve been able to see it play out in real time and to see that that officer did have other options. There was no reason to shoot to kill when the officer absolutely knew that the only weapon the man had was a TASER. And he wasn’t even firing it in any way that could have harmed the officer at that time. So I think it shows the intent. The question’s gonna be, “Is there a defense? Was the shooting justified?” Ultimately, that may be up to a jury.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.