Atlanta prosecutors investigating the killing of Rayshard Brooks tried to obtain a search warrant to find out who donated to a fundraiser for the former Atlanta Police officer charged with his murder, it has been revealed.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office last week filed a search warrant application to investigate a possible bail-jumping charge against former officer Garrett Rolfe, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
Rolfe, 27, was fired less than 24 hours after shooting and killing Brooks, 27, during a police confrontation outside of a Wendy’s drive-thru on June 12.
Former Atlanta Police officer Garrett Rolfe (left) 27, is facing felony murder charges after shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks (right) during a police confrontation outside of a Wendy’s drive-thru in June
Members of the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization launched a fundraising site to help support the police officer after he was fired
He has been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, and was released on $500,000 bond.
Members of the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization had launched an online fundraiser to collect money for Rolfe’s legal expenses, raising more than $500,000 so far.
According to the report, prosecutors sought to obtain information on the organizers of the fundraiser, how much money has been raised and how the funds have been used.
A superior court judge however, denied the application due to a lack of probable cause.
‘I did not find there was enough probable cause to sign that warrant,’ Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney told the AJC.
Rolfe’s attorney, Noah Pines criticized prosecutors’ request and questioned their motives, saying the warrant may have been used as ‘pretext to intimidate the people who have spoken out on behalf of our client.’
‘He could have waited for a ruling before taking further action,’ Pines told the paper.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office last week requested a search warrant for the fundraiser to investigate a possible bail-jumping charge, but the application was rejected by a judge
Rolfe’s attorneys recently requested Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard (pictured) recuse himself from the case after he made ‘comments to inflame public sentiment against Rolfe’
‘Instead he sought to uncover the private information of Americans who donated to Garrett Rolfe’s defense because they believed in his innocence.’
It comes after Rolfe’s attorneys asked the court to remove District Attorney Paul Howard from the case last month.
Lawyers argued Howard had repeatedly made comments to inflame public sentiment against Rolfe and issued contradictory statements about whether a stun gun is a deadly weapon they said in a court filing.
‘Paul Howard has systematically sought to deprive Garrett Rolfe of a fair trial and impartial jury since the day he announced his decision to arrest Garrett Rolfe,’ the attorneys said.
Prosecutors are expected to file a response to the recusal request next week, according to the paper.
Police body cameras showed Rolfe and another officer having a calm and respectful conversation with Brooks before the confrontation turned deadly
On Wednesday a judge also declined the DA’s request to revoke Rolfe’s bond after prosecutors claimed he violated the terms of his conditions by traveling out of state.
Rolfe was granted bond on June 30 under the condition that he adhere to a curfew from 6pm to 6am with exceptions for work, attorney meetings or medical visits.
Prosecutors argued that meant he was to spend each night at home in Georgia, and said his bond should be revoked because they had learned from his lawyers a day after he left that he was on vacation in Florida.
His lawyers countered that the law makes a distinction between home confinement or house arrest and a curfew, and argued the state never requested that he be prohibited from traveling out of state.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick wrote in an order Wednesday that the bond order intentionally didn’t specify the address where he would have to stay for his safety and because she anticipated he might have to move while on bond.
She never intended for him to freely travel, observing his curfew wherever he happened to be at night, she wrote, but added that bond cannot be revoked without due process. She clarified and amended the bond order to say that Rolfe ‘shall live and reside at one residence within the State of Georgia.’