Police shooting in Atlanta stirs debate among Hawaii legal experts

Murder charges against Atlanta, Minnesota officers could have a nationwide impact

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The case of a now-fired Atlanta police officer who faces a felony murder charge for fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks is raising concern in Hawaii.

Some worry say that the case could have a chilling effect on officers in the field here.

“Now you’re going to have police officers, who are going to think twice in responding to death or great bodily harm to themselves or others and they’re going get killed,” said attorney Michael Green, who has represented both the families of people killed by police and officers as a former police union attorney.

“You’re going to have mass early retirements, people are going to resign.”

Green said he worries that the charges are more meant to appease community anger over police violence against African-American citizens and may backfire.

Some police experts agree.

“For the officers in Atlanta, it’s a huge chilling effect. Now they’re trying to do their job and given this political atmosphere and climate, they need to second guess what they should or should not do,” said Tommy Aiu, Hawaii News Now’s law enforcement expert and a former special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But defense attorney Myles Breiner thinks the charges are warranted.

He said not only did Officer Garrett Rolfe shoot Brooks in the back as he was running away but he says Brooks did not pose a threat.

“I know a lot of people think that pointing a taser and running away constitutes a violent act. The problem is a taser outside of nine or 10 feet is ineffective,” said Breiner.

“This is not to say Mr. Brooks was justified in resisting arrest but seriously, he’s in line at a Wendy’s drive-thru and fell asleep.”

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