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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/18/20

Despite Promises of Reform, Police are Still Killing

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Despite promises of reform, police are still killing. PAR examines the case of Rayshard Brooks, shot in the back twice as he fled police, and speaks with James McLynas, who says his lack of law enforcement experience makes him the perfect candidate for sheriff.

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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.

Taya Graham: Hello. My name is Taya Graham, and welcome to the Police Accountability Report. As I always say, and will continue to say, the point of this show is to hold police accountable. To do so, we go beyond the actions of individual officers and dissect the system that makes bad behavior not just acceptable, but encouraged.

Today, we're going to take a look at a critical moment from the police killing of Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year-old man shot in the back by Atlanta police over the weekend. We're going to examine a critical juncture at which police made a fateful decision and what it says about the state of American policing.

Then we will speak to an intriguing candidate for sheriff who's trying to turn law enforcement upside down. His name is James McLynas, and he will talk to us about why he is trying to change American law enforcement from the inside and the unique perspective he brings to the idea of reform.

But, before we get started, I want you to know that if you have evidence of police misconduct, please email it to us privately at Please like, share, and comment on our videos. You know I read your comments and appreciate them. And of course, you can message me directly at TayaSBaltimore on Twitter or Facebook.

Okay, that's out of the way. Now, it's hard to believe, but we have had yet another police killing to report on. After weeks of protests and calls for reform, Atlanta police did this. Shot a man in the back and killed him. His name was Rayshard Brooks. The 27-year-old father of three had fallen asleep in his car at a Wendy's drive-thru. Police arrived and administered a field sobriety test, but apparently, after he offered to park his car and walk to his sister's home, officers felt compelled to arrest him. And it is this decision that we want to unpack. Let's remember that Rayshard was not pulled over driving while intoxicated. He was, in fact, parked. And as you can see by this video, he clearly was cooperative. Let's watch.

Rayshard Brooks: [inaudible 00:02:00]

Officer: Where's that? What's the address?

Rayshard Brooks: I'm not sure. [inaudible 00:02:04]

Officer: All right. How did she drop you off here?

Taya Graham: But 30 minutes later, when police could have perhaps offered to let him walk home or even give him a ride, they default to the most consequential solution, an arrest. Which led to this struggle and then two shots in his back. We're going to watch, but just a warning, this video is disturbing.

On Wednesday Fulton County prosecutors announced felony murder charges against Officer Garrett Rolfe who fired the fatal shots. But the arrest raises a question, why did police feel compelled to arrest him? Why couldn't they simply let him walk home? Why did another police encounter that began with a man committing the heinous, and I'm being sarcastic, crime of sleeping at a drive-thru, end up with another controversial police killing. Well, to help me unpack what happened and why I'm joined by my reporting partner, Stephen Janis. Stephen, thanks for joining me.

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