Former police officer charged with murder in shooting of black man » Prosecutors Wednesday announced criminal charges against a white Atlanta police officer for the fatal shooting of a black man last week.
HOWARD: These are the 11 charges against officer Rolfe. The first charge is felony murder.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. heard there. The murder charge against Garrett Rolfe carries possible life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Other charges include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The charges stem from a Friday night incident outside a Wendy’s restaurant. After an initially peaceful interaction, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks resisted arrest for driving under the influence. He then stole a police taser and fled. As he ran away, he fired the taser over his shoulder at Rolfe who then grabbed his sidearm and shot Brooks. The fatal rounds struck Brooks in the back.
Paul Howard said Brooks was never a threat to the officers and deadly force was not warranted. And he added that after the shooting, both officers at the scene waited more than 2 minutes before providing medical attention to Brooks.
HOWARD: During the 2 minutes and 12 seconds, officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life.
The other officer, Devin Brosnan, stood either on Brooks’ arms or shoulders, which is an unauthorized form of restraint. For that, Brosnan is charged with aggravated assault and other offenses. But he is cooperating with the state and has agreed to testify against Rolfe.
Howard said it was the first time in 40 such cases in which an officer has come forward to do this.
GOP unveils police reform “Justice Act” » Meantime, on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Senate Republicans unveiled their police reform bill, countering Democratic legislation in the House.
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott led the GOP task force that wrote the bill.
SCOTT: We find ourselves at a place with a package that I think speaks to the families that I spoke with yesterday—we hear you.
The “Justice Act” calls for restrictions on chokeholds and sets up new commissions to study law enforcement and race. And it would beef up requirements for law enforcement to compile use-of-force reports in a nationwide database. It also establishes tracking for “no-knock” warrants.
Democrats say the bill doesn’t go far enough. Senator Dick Durbin described it this way…
DURBIN: Let’s not do something that is a token halfhearted approach.
Moments later, Senator Scott choked up as he noted that Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of the Emanuel AME church shooting in his home state. And Scott, who is the only black Republican member of the Senate, had this response to Durbin:
SCOTT: To be considered a token piece of legislation because perhaps I’m African American and I’m the only one on this side of the aisle—I don’t know what he meant. But I can tell you, on this day to have those comments again hurts the soul.
Durbin later sought out Senator Scott on the Senate floor and apologized for his remarks.
Arizona gov. announces new measures to fight coronavirus spread » With coronavirus cases rising in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey announced several new measures Wednesday to fight the spread of the virus.
Among them, he’s authorizing local governments to mandate the use of face masks in public. He’s also reinforcing guidelines to ensure that businesses are doing their part to protect employees and customers.
DUCEY: And if they don’t, there will be enforcement, and they will be held accountable.
Arizona is one of several states with recent spikes in new cases. Others include Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Nevada.
Justice Department sues to delay release of Bolton book » The Justice Department is suing former national security adviser John Bolton to delay the publication of a tell-all book about his time in the Trump White House.
The Trump administration says the book contains sensitive and even classified information.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway…
CONWAY: The name of the book is The Room Where It Happened. So Ambassador Bolton himself makes clear that he was in the Oval Office. He was in the Situation Room. He had a lot of access to the president.
In its lawsuit, the Justice Department contends Bolton did not complete a pre-publication review to ensure that the manuscript did not contain classified material. It’s asking a federal court to delay publication of the book to allow for a completion of the national security review process. The book is scheduled for release next week.
The lawsuit also seeks to prevent Bolton from profiting off the book, particularly if he—quote—“refuses to complete the prepublication review process.”
Bolton’s lawyer and publisher have denied that he short-circuited proper procedures.
North Korea announces plans to further militarize border with South » North Korea said Wednesday that it plans to step up its military presence along its border with South Korea—nullifying deals it made with the South just two years ago. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Pyongyang announced that it will send more soldiers to the border, reinstall guard posts, and resume military exercises at front-line areas.
That news came one day after the North blew up a liaison office along the border that was used for diplomatic talks.
Those steps would destroy agreements the two countries reached in 2018—aimed at lowering military tensions along the border.
Many experts believe the latest provocations are aimed at applying pressure on Seoul and Washington amid stalled nuclear negotiations.
South Korea’s military expressed regret over the North Korean announcement and warned that the North will face unspecified consequences if it violates the 2018 deals.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.