Rappers who witnessed Atlanta police killing of Rayshard Brooks speak out
Two Memphis rappers spoke about their arrival in Atlanta on Thursday to pursue their musical dreams and saw a white policeman shoot a black man down in front of them within hours of their arrival in the city.
Mike Perkins and Melvin Evans said they had traveled to Atlanta to shoot a music video with rapper Pastor Troy when they decided to go to a Wendy for something to eat, and watched in horror as Rayshard Brooks twice in the Back shot is running away from now ex-police officer Garrett Rolfe.
A third bullet fired from Rolfe's 9mm pistol struck Evans' recently bought Chevrolet Trailblazer on the passenger side near the Perkins seat.
"I mean, I don't know where to start. I witnessed a murder and was almost killed myself," said 35-year-old Perkins, aka "Mike Peezy," at a press conference in the Atlanta office his and Evans' lawyer Shean Williams from The Cochran Law Firm.
PHOTO: Witnesses Mike Perkins and Melvin Evans, who were in a car when Rayshard Brooks was shot in a Wendy parking lot in Atlanta, are waiting to speak at a press conference on June 18, 2020 while their lawyer Shean Williams introduces them . (WSB)
Perkins and Evans spoke a day after Fulton County prosecutors received arrest warrants for Rolfe and Atlanta police officer Devin Bronsan.
Brosnan surrendered to the authorities on Thursday afternoon, issued a bail and was released, according to his lawyer. Rolfe surrenders a few hours later and is expected to be held without bail.
Rolfe, who was fired from the police after the shootout, faces eleven charges, including crime murder, several fatal injuries with a lethal weapon, and seven violations of his duties. Brosnan, who has been taken on administrative leave, faces two oath infringement charges and one aggravated assault charge.
Perkins and Williams held a press conference when Brooks' family announced that they would hold a funeral for him at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his first sermon and where the icon of civil rights was praised after his 1968 murder.
PHOTO: Rayshard Brooks, father of three daughters and stepson, was shot dead by the police in Atlanta on June 12, 2020. (Stewart Trial Attorneys)
The Friday shootout took place amidst tensions as protests broke out in Atlanta and cities across the country against George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. The Brooks shootout took place just a few days after six Atlanta police officers who were prosecuted for stuning and pulling two black college students out of a car because of a viral video when a protest took place nearby.
Atlanta police chief Erika Shields resigned a day after Brooks' shooting.
Perkins said he and Evans and a friend had been waiting in Wendy's restaurant on the thoroughfare when they suddenly heard the violent fight between Brooks, 27, and the two officers.
"I huddled," said Perkins.
He said he heard the whirling in front of him, and then he heard the officers shout, "Stop resisting" and "Stop fighting." He said the first thought that came to his mind was that the police would kill anyone they struggled with.
"When I saw him [Brooks] running, I heard the tasers or whatever. When I heard the shots, my first reaction was to duck. I was under the seat in the back seat and crouched," said Perkins.
He said he heard her friend scream and Evans said, "Man, I think he's dead."
PHOTO: Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe in a photo released on June 18, 2020 by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
PHOTO: This mug shot, published by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, shows Devin Brosnan. (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
MORE: The Atlanta Police Force Use Policy was violated several times when Rayshard Brooks: Prosecutor was fatally shot
Evans, known by the stage name "2Turnt Gizzle", said after Brooks was shot he saw the two officers standing over his body.
"What I saw was that they handcuffed him," said Evans.
The deadly encounter occurred on Friday evening after a Wendy 911 agent called 911 to report that Brooks was asleep in the drive-through lane and could not be awakened.
Brosnan was the first to enter the scene and knock on Brooks' window, but couldn't wake him. The body camera video showed Brosnan opening the door and shaking Brooks.
PHOTO: Witness Mike Perkins, who was in a car with two friends when Rayshard Brooks was shot in a Wendy parking lot in Atlanta, speaks at a press conference on June 18, 2020. (WSB)
MORE: Ex-officer is charged with murdering Rayshard Brooks: DA
Rolfe responded to the scene when Brosnan sparked a dispatcher and said he needed a DUI certified officer.
Paul Howard, Fulton County District Attorney, said Rolfe and Brosnan had spoken to Brooks for 41 minutes and 17 seconds before the shootout, and that Brooks had warmly answered their questions and followed their instructions to be patted and a range of fields to undergo sobriety tests and an alcohol test that showed that he was "slightly impaired".
PHOTO: Witness Melvin Evans, who was sitting in his Chevy Trailblazer with two friends when Rayshard Brooks was shot in a Wendy parking lot in Atlanta, is giving a press conference on June 18, 2020. (WSB)
The security video captured Brooks, who was fighting the officers when they handcuffed him. The footage shows Brooks taking Brosnan's yellow stun gun and running away.
MORE: Rayshard Brooks told the Atlanta official about a visit to the mother's grave and was fatally shot: video
Howard said the video showed Brooks turning and firing the stun gun over Rolfe's head to empty the device before Rolfe, who had also used the cartridges in his stun gun, drew his service weapons and fired three shots into the crowded parking lot and Brooks on the back. Howard said Rolfe was captured on a video of him kicking Brooks after he shot him and Brosnan, who were standing on the dying man's shoulders.
Howard said Brosnan agreed to testify against Rolfe, but Brosnan's attorney, Don Samuel, said the official did not agree to testify, but said he was cooperating in the investigation and "was not guilty of any crime and would not plead guilty."
Rolfe's lawyer, Lance J. LoRusso, released a statement saying he was "confident that Rolfe would be confirmed if all the evidence was heard".
PHOTO: Wendy's restaurant, set on fire by demonstrators after Rayshard Brooks was killed, can be seen in Atlanta on June 17, 2020. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
Perkins and Evans said they hadn't noticed that a Rolfe-fired shot hit their vehicle until they left the parking lot and returned to a studio where they worked.
Evans said Brooks collapsed about 10 feet from his vehicle after the shot.
He said that Perkins told him immediately after the shooting that he should leave immediately. But Evans said he decided to stay there.
"They were right there with us," said Evans about the officers and Brooks. "We were nervous, shocked, all of that. I probably would have run over them. They were so close and they would have probably thought that we would use the vehicle to hit them or something and shoot at us. So I said , we're not going anywhere. "
He said he had stepped out of the parking lot when he saw that the officer, who was believed to be Rolfe, put his gun back in its holster.
"I thought it just wasn't necessary," said Perkins of the shootout. "I feel like it was just ... it was terrible. The whole situation was terrible. "
Rappers who watched the Atlanta police kill Rayshard Brooks originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
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