Rev. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at Rayshard Brooks’ funeral service Tuesday, telling attendees they must continue their fight for justice.
“We cannot stop our demonstrations until our voices are heard and our demands for police reform are met,” Rev. King said during the service at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where her father had been pastor.
A public viewing of Rayshard Brooks was held Monday and on Tuesday Brooks’ family held a private funeral service that was live streamed. Filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry paid for the funeral.
Brooks, 27, was shot to death June 12 by Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, 27, in a Wendy’s parking lot. Restaurant employees called the police after Brooks fell asleep in his car while parked in the restaurant’s drive-through lane.
Rolfe woke Brooks and the two talked amicably for more than 40 minutes, but things changed dramatically when Rolfe attempted to handcuff Brooks who fought Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan, 26. Brooks grabbed Brosnan’s taser and ran away before briefly turning around and firing it at them.
Rolfe ran after Brooks, shooting him twice in the back, killing him. Fulton County District Attorney, Paul Howard, said as Brooks lay on the ground either dead or dying, Rolfe kicked him. Brosnan stood on Brook’s injured shoulder. Neither officer administered first aid to Brooks for more than two minutes.
Howard charged Rolfe with felony murder and 10 other felony counts. He was fired from the police force several days later. The Fulton County Medical Examiner ruled Brooks’ death was a homicide.
Brooks’s murder by police occurred two weeks after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. His death set off worldwide demonstrations protesting police brutality.
Howard charged Brosnan with aggravated assault and placed him on administrative duty. Ericka Shields, Atlanta’s police chief, resigned her post but remains with the police department in a different position.
Howard’s decision to quickly charge Rolfe and Brosnan sparked a walkout by the Atlanta police department’s mostly white officers, leading to concerns that there are not enough cops to cover the city and answer 911 calls. The union representing the officers has agreed to pay the cops $500 during the walkout. City officials said morale is very low but Howard noted that not one police officer has been charged for the 40 deadly shootings of unarmed civilians.
Brooks, the father of four, and a former inmate, discussed in a video how difficult it was to restart his life after being released from prison. Most difficult was finding work. During the service, he was described as a caring father and a hardworking man trying to overcome his past.