Rayshard Brooks opened up about struggles, incarceration months before death. He wasn't going to 'give up'.
Months before Rayshard Brooks was shot by a police officer outside a Wendy's in Atlanta, he gave an interview talking about his struggles with life after detention.
In February, a company called Reconnect, which works to fight the US detention crisis, published an ad on Craigslist. They were looking for someone on probation who was willing to be interviewed on camera.
Reconnect sent a representative to Atlanta to meet with Brooks, where he described in detail his life after detention and the difficulty of finding a job.
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"If you do some things that are wrong, you pay your debts to society," Brooks said in the video. "That's the bottom line. I just feel that part of the system might look at us as individuals. We have lives. It's just a mistake we made, and not just as if we were animals."
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27-year-old Brooks died after the Atlanta police responded to a call for a car in a Wendy's drive-through that was not moving. According to Bodycam footage, when the police arrived at the scene, they found Brooks asleep in his car, which had forced other customers in line to drive around the car.
The police interviewed Brooks and ran a field sobriety test where he failed. When they tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted and wrestled one of the two local officers with a taser. He fled. And when he ran, ex-Atlanta officer Garrett Rolfe pulled out his gun and fired three shots, two of which hit Brooks in the back. He was taken to a hospital and died after the operation.
Fulton County's district attorney, Paul Howard, accused Rolfe of eleven charges on Wednesday, including crime murder and fatal weapon attack. Officer Devin Brosnan was also on site and faced three minor charges. Rolfe was fired after the shoot while Brosnan was on leave.
Rayshard Brooks died after being shot by Garrett Rolfe, an Atlanta police officer. What's happening now?
CNN received the Reconnect interview material and broadcast excerpts from it Wednesday evening. In part of this excerpt, Brooks informed the Reconnect interviewer that he had been arrested for guilty of fraudulent detention and financial credit card fraud, found guilty and sentenced to one year in prison.
"It also affects our mental state by being detained," Brooks said in the video. "Just not being able to see the outside, not being able to walk. To be woken up to learn what to do when and how. Some people are considering suicide. A lot of things they don't know. It is a great pressure for yourself to absorb the energy that you have to deal with. It's just a lot. It's just a lot. And some people can't. "
Brooks said the detention "hardened" me and he learned to "keep watch because the world is cruel".
"Sometimes people ask me, 'Hey, man, why are you like this ...'" said Brooks as he puffed up his chest to mimic the toughness. "That made me feel like that."
In a Medium article, Stephen Quirk, the representative of Reconnect who interviewed Brooks, wrote about his experiences during the session. Quirk said Brooks "immediately started talking and avoided my prepared questions about his name, age, and background" and "he was rocking nervously in his chair" during the interview.
"He had a story to tell and he was excited to tell it," Quirk wrote.
Brooks also spoke about the financial burden on the recently released people and how difficult it is to secure jobs. He said that while the obstacles to getting a job made life difficult, he thought that the families of former inmates bore the heaviest burden.
"It's just a lot of things that made me stay behind," said Brooks. "But I'm still trying here. I'm not the type to give up. I'll keep going until I get where I want to be."
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Rayshard Brooks gave an interview about fighting, criminal records
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