Atlanta Police Union Chief: Charging of Officer “Worst Day Ever” For Law Enforcement in City
Vince Champion, the southeast regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police, acknowledged that the firing and criminal charging of Officer Garrett Rolfe had had a devastating impact upon the morale of Atlanta Police Officers in an interview on Thursday.
Champion who is the leader of the union that represents Atlanta’s police, described the series of events as “the worst day in law enforcement in the city of Atlanta that’s ever been.”
Reports indicate that hundreds of Atlanta Police Officers had walked off the job after Fulton County Prosecutor Paul Howard filed criminal charges against Rolfe in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks. Rolfe shot and killed the repeat felon when he resisted arrest for driving under the influence, when Brooks stole an officer’s taser and attempted to use it against two law enforcement officers.
Several entire police precincts were left unstaffed as officers declined their duties in protest of the prosecutor’s decision. Hundreds of police calls were left unanswered.
In the interview with Fox 5 Atlanta, Champion rejected the basis for criminal charges on the video of the shooting. “I’m not going to make an assumption based on a video that I don’t know anything about,” said the police union leader. “I’ve been a cop for 30 years. We go with the evidence leads us. Looking at videos and not knowing the whole thing, I don’t have an opinion.”
Rolfe turned himself in on Thursday. The fired Atlanta police officer could face the death penalty, should he be convicted of first-degree murder charges in the death of Brooks.