The family of Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year-old father killed by Atlanta police last weekend, spoke out about his life and death during an emotional press conference held on Monday (June 15). Brooks’ widow, Tamika Miller, along with his cousins and niece shared memories of the loving family man, and asked that the country stand behind them as they seek justice.
“Me and my uncle are both 27 years of age, 27 years of age,” Brooks’ niece, Chastity Evans, said. “No one walking this green Earth expects to be shot and killed like trash in the street for falling asleep in a drive through.”
Chastity added that her uncle, “has a family who loves him, who would have gladly came and got him,” on the night that he was killed by Atlanta police after a Wendy’s employee called 911 because Brooks was sleeping in his car in the drive-thru.
“The day after my uncle’s murder, his oldest daughter sat for her father in her birthday dress to come and take her skating. And to look across the room and know that it’s never a possibility anymore breaks my heart.
“This entire situation has traumatized me and my entire family I’m sure for the rest of our lives,” Evans continued. “My uncle did not die in vain. His life mattered. George Floyd’s life mattered. Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. Michael Brown’s life mattered. Sandra Bland’s life mattered. I’m not only asking the city of Atlanta to stand with us. I’m asking for everyone in this nation to stand with us as we seek justice for Rayshard. Thank you.”
Body cam footage from the incident shows Brooks calmly speaking with police and admitting to being intoxicated before the run-in turned volatile. Brooks, who was unarmed, was shot with a stun gun that he wrestled out of an officer’s hand before attempting to run away, at which point the officer opened fire shooting him twice in the back.
An autopsy determined that Brooks died from blood loss following two fatal gunshot wounds. His manner of death was ruled a homicide. Former officer Garrett Rolfe, who killed Brooks, was fired from the Atlanta Police Department. The other officer, Devin Bronsan, was placed on administrative leave.
“No matter what the different points of view are of his death. We must all agree to one fact, the fact that he was killed by the Atlanta Police Department,” said Brooks’ cousin, Tiara Brooks. “The fact that someone’s cousin, brother, uncle, nephew, father, companion and friend is no longer in this world. The trust that we have with the police force is broken. And the only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change with the police department.
“But honestly true justice will never prevail because we will never be able to bring back Rayshard Brooks. He will no longer be able to return to this world nor to his family. However, again, if we stand together and unite as one, there will be no more cases similar to Rayshard’s. How many more protests will it take to ensure that the next victim isn’t your cousin, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your friend, or your companion, so that we can finally end the suffering of police excessive force? We are tired…and we are frustrated. Most importantly, we’re heartbroken, so we need justice for Rayshard Brooks.”
The family also thanked supporters, and Tyler Perry for paying for Brooks’ funeral.
Watch the full press conference in the vide below.