ATLANTA — It was a question that immediately sprang to mind on Wednesday after an Atlanta city board released a decision to reinstate the officer who'd been fired after shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks last summer: Will he go back to patrolling streets?
The decision was narrowly focused on whether Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City of Atlanta followed proper protocols with the firing. The Atlanta Civil Service Board ruled they did not, violating Rolfe's due process rights as a public employee, and restored his employment with the Atlanta Police Department.
But that doesn't necessarily mean his employment as a regular patrol officer has been restored. We VERIFY whether that might be the case or not:
Will Garrett Rolfe patrol Atlanta streets because his firing has been reversed?
- City of Atlanta
- Rolfe's lawyer
- Lawyers for Brooks' family
There doesn't appear to be anything in statute that would either prohibit or require that Rolfe go back on regular patrol duty. But none of the parties involved are talking about it as an option.
The city and Rolfe's lawyer, Lance LoRusso, have expressed somewhat conflicting expectations about what will happen next. The city said in a statement on Wednesday that Rolfe would be on administrative leave until the murder case against him in the shooting is resolved. Rolfe still faces murder charges in the shooting, which are in legal limbo as the Fulton County district attorney tries to recuse herself from the case.
LoRusso, however, told 11Alive that he expected his client would be placed on desk duty.
Lawyers for Brooks' family, meanwhile, said in a press conference that they expected the city to initiate the process of trying again to fire Rolfe, this time following the procedures laid out by city rules. The city itself did not say whether it had begun that process or not, only that, "In light of (the ruling), APD will conduct an assessment to determine if additional investigative actions are needed."
The short answer? No, it's all but certain Rolfe won't be returning to an active patrol role with APD.