U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson disapproved of how the events surrounding the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta have unfolded, citing complications in the case as a whole.
“There is definitely wrong on both sides here, but you know the one guy lost his life, and I guess one of the things that should come out of this is when we are training police officers, it should be automatic that if you take your gun out, you have made the decision that whatever has happened is worth taking someone’s life,” Carson said Wednesday on Fox News’s The Story with Martha MacCallum.
Brooks was shot last Friday by now ex-officer Garrett Rolfe after someone reported a man sleeping in a car blocking a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks had failed a sobriety test and resisted arrest, with camera footage showing him running from Rolfe and another officer while pulling out a Taser. Rolfe can be seen drawing his gun and firing at Brooks until he falls to the ground.
Rolfe was fired over the weekend and was met with 11 charges on Wednesday, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Carson said he was surprised to see how early charges were made against Rolfe, repeating his previous stance that the Atlanta case was not as “clear-cut” as the death of George Floyd in police custody last month in Minneapolis.
He noted it was odd to see Rolfe fire his gun in an area where there could’ve been civilians at risk of being caught in the escalations between the officers and Brooks.
“I thought that police were trained not to do that, not to endanger other citizens in the course of an apprehension,” Carson said. “In one of the cases, the bullet hit the rear fender of a car, and, of course, that’s near the gas tank. What if that car had exploded and the people inside had been killed? I mean, these are the kinds of judgments that have to be made.”
Carson also pushed back on narratives that police should be punished for every mistake they make, saying it’s “unfair” to judge officers immediately even when situations could be handled better. He says impaneling a grand jury for this case would be the best course of action given the perceived lack of clarity.
“It’s too big a case just to rush to judgment,” Carson said. “Now, it could be that the same verdict would be had. I understand that, but I think it would make much more sense to delve into it deeply given the amount of emotional trauma that it has caused on all sides.”