President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat warns of potential staff purge at US media agencyJudge denies request to stop Trump rally due to coronavirus concernsFauci on coronavirus infections: ‘We’re still in a first wave’MORE on Wednesday called the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta a “terrible situation,” but appeared to cast blame on the victim in the case by insisting that “you can’t resist a police officer.”
Trump offered his most extensive comments to date on the death of Brooks, a 27-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police after an altercation outside a Wendy’s. He called Brooks’ death “very sad,” but offered rigid support for law enforcement amid a broader national discussion over police brutality, saying police officers “have not been treated fairly.”
“I thought it was a terrible situation, but you cant resist a police officer,” Trump told Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityHannity calls for abolishing chokeholds: Develop ‘rigorous system’ to hold ‘crooked cops accountable’Former NYPD commissioner Kelly: If unrest continues, ‘we are going to need the National Guard’Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protestsMORE on Fox News. “And, you know, if you have a disagreement you have to take it up after the fact.”
The officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, was charged earlier Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault in the case. The district attorney said Rolfe kicked Brooks after he was shot, while his partner stood on his shoulder. The two did not give first aid for more than two minutes, prosecutors said.
The president said he had just received a report that a lawyer for Rolfe who shot Brooks claimed the policeman “heard a sound like… a gunshot” during the incident, calling that detail “a very interesting thing.” Trump indicated he was unsure whether that was accurate, but that it would be left to prosecutors to determine the officer’s fate.
“I hope he gets a fair shake because police have not been treated fairly in our country. They have not been treated fairly,” Trump said. “But, again you cant resist a police officer like that. And they ended up in a very terrible disagreement and look at the way it ended. Very bad. Very bad.”
The shooting, which was captured on video, occurred after what the district attorney said was a “cordial” interaction between Brooks and police outside of a Wendy’s in Atlanta. Brooks then failed a sobriety test and officers placed him under arrest. The men had a physical struggle with Brooks grabbing one of their tasers.
Brooks’ death is the latest in a string of police-involved killings of African Americans that has set off a nationwide debate over racial injustice and police brutality. The death of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, has triggered massive demonstrations for the past three weeks.
The Atlanta police chief has resigned over Brooks’ killing, which has renewed calls for reforms.
Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order intended to prioritize federal funding for police departments that go through de-escalation training that includes bans on chokeholds in certain instances. Congress, meanwhile, is debating its own set of policing reforms that would increase accountability and reporting requirements for law enforcement and restrict the use of chokeholds.