University protecting status of former Atlanta police officer who killed Black man

Kennesaw State is refusing to disclose any information on a student who killed a Black man this summer and has subsequently been charged with felony murder, among other charges.

Former Atlanta Police Department Officer Garrett Rolfe killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, a Black man,Friday, June 12. Rolfe was fired five days later and brought up on 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault.

At Rolfe’s bond hearing Tuesday, June 30, his lawyers said Rolfe was a KSU student, majoring in criminal justice and psychology, the court transcript shows.

Since killing Brooks, Rolfe has withdrawn from all his classes, his lawyer said in the transcript.

Rolfe was attending KSU full-time and working for APD full-time, keeping about a 3.0 GPA until he killed Brooks, his lawyers said in June.

Although Rolfe has withdrawn from all classes at KSU, that does not necessarily mean he is still not enrolled at KSU. A student can still be enrolled at KSU despite withdrawing from classes.

After two inquiries from the Sentinel, KSU officials refused to disclose whether Rolfe is still enrolled at the university. They would also not answer any other questions about Rolfe.

Executive Director of KSU’s Office of the Registrar Paul Parker twice refused to answer the Sentinel’s questions about Rolfe, and instead directed the Sentinel to KSU’s public relations office, who brought up the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

“Due to FERPA, the University is unable to comment,” KSU Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communication Tammy Demel said.

FERPA is a federal law that protects student’s education records.

When a Black starter for KSU’s women’s basketball team, Kamiyah Street, was arrested for the alleged killing of 21-year-old Nashiem Hubbard-Etienne in November 2019, KSU released a public statement to the press.

In that statement, the university acknowledged they were made aware of Street’s charges that Thursday, before the press broke the news to the public. KSU said Street was suspended indefinitely from KSU’s women’s basketball team.

No mention was made of FERPA with Street.

In the nearly four months since Rolfe, a white man, killed Brooks, KSU still has not released any statement even acknowledging Rolfe as a KSU student.

In a viral 41-minute video, Rolfe’s APD colleague Officer Devin Brosnan can be seen questioning Brooks after complaints Brooks was blocking drive-thru traffic at an Atlanta Wendy’s on University Avenue. Brosnan eventually called Rolfe for back-up when he suspected Brooks was drunk.

Rolfe performed a sobriety test on Brooks, a father of four. Rolfe determined Brooks had too much to drink and attempted to arrest him for a DUI.

A struggle ensued when Rolfe tried to arrest Brooks, and Brooks grabbed Rolfe’s Taser. Brooks ran away and then turned back in Rolfe’s direction, where it appeared Brooks pointed the Taser at Rolfe.

Rolfe then pulled out his gun and shot Brooks, killing him.

Brooks’ autopsy revealed he was shot twice in the back.

Furthermore, Rolfe allegedly kicked Brooks’ dead body and said, “I got him,” after killing him, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said.

Rolfe was brought up on 11 criminal charges, Wednesday, June 17. Brosnan was also charged with three crimes, including aggravated assault and violating his oath of office.

Since being charged, Rolfe was released on a $500,000 bond that says he must wear an ankle monitor, surrender his passport and abide by a curfew.

Rolfe came under fire again by Howard when he allegedly went out of state to Daytona Beach, Florida, while out on bond.

The killing of Brooks was not the first time Rolfe was involved in shooting a Black man.

In 2015, Rolfe was one of three APD officers involved in shooting at Jackie Jermaine Harris, a Black man suspected of attempting to flee in a stolen vehicle.

Harris survived but accused APD of using lethal force on him while he was unarmed.

In 2016, Rolfe was reprimanded by APD for pointing a gun at a car in a vehicle chase that violated APD policy.

Occurring only weeks after national demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Rolfe’s killing of Brooks sparked further protests in Atlanta from both residents and police.

Outraged residents protested, burning down the Wendy’s Rolfe killed Brooks at the day after the killing. Protestors also blocked traffic and continued to demonstrate weeks after Brooks’ killing.

In the days after Rolfe and Brosnan were charged, about 170 APD officers called out sick to protest their colleagues being charged.

Former APD Chief Erika Shields also resigned from her position hours after the killing, unexpectedly.

This is a developing story.

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