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Attorneys for ex-Atlanta officer file motion for district attorney to be recused in Rayshard Brooks case

The 12-page motion outlines three reasons why Garrett Rolfe's attorneys believe the Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard should not be involved in the case.

ATLANTA — The counsel representing the former Atlanta police officer charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks has filed a motion pushing for the district attorney to be recused in the case.

The 12-page motion outlines three reasons why Garrett Rolfe's attorneys believe the Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard should not be involved in the case.

The document, which was filed Monday, alleges that some of Howard's "statements to the public were ethically inappropriate" and claim that he is "a necessary witness in this case" 

"He is under investigation by the GBI for his actions in this case and thus he suffers from a conflict of interest," the document also claims. 

"We ask that Paul Howard and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office be recused from prosecuting this case," the motion reads. "Recusal is the only thing that can protect Garrett Rolfe from any further deprivation of his constitutional rights to a fair trial and an impartial jury."

11Alive reached out to the district attorney's office and Howard provided us with the following statement:

“We have received the motion for recusal filed by Garrett Rolfe’s Counsel. When the motion is assigned to a Superior Court Judge with appropriate jurisdiction, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office will respond at that time. Until that occurs, we will have no further comment on this motion.”

Tuesday, 11Alive received a statement on behalf of the attorneys for Rolfe which said, the "motion speaks for itself and the attorneys look forward to a hearing on the motion." The statement said they wouldn't be making any further comments.

Brooks was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Wendy's on University Avenue on the night of June 12. Officers responded to the fast food restaurant after a complaint about a man parked in the drive-thru asleep, forcing other vehicles to drive around him, according to the GBI's preliminary report.

Officers administered a field sobriety test on the man, later identified as Brooks. After he failed, they attempted to take him into custody. During the attempted arrest, authorities said Brooks resisted and a struggle began. The arresting officer pulled out a Taser. 

The encounter was caught on video.

During the struggle, authorities said Brooks grabbed a taser and took off running. Authorities said Brooks appeared to turn and point the Taser over his shoulder toward the officers. That's when the officer fired his gun. The GBI said Brooks was taken to the hospital and died during surgery.

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