Lawyer for ex-Atlanta cop accused of murder claims DA’s office tried to ‘uncover’ those who donated to client

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A lawyer for the ex-Atlanta police officer accused of fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks criticized the Fulton County district attorney Thursday for trying to obtain a search warrant that he said would provide details on Americans who donated to his client during an online fundraiser.

Noah Pines, one of former Officer Garrett Rolfe’s attorneys, has already requested that Paul Howard, the prosecutor, recuse himself from the case due to his public statements about the shooting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

A judge denied the warrant due to a lack of “probable cause,” the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors hoped to learn about the origins of the online fundraiser and what happened to the money that was collected, the paper said. Prosecutors hoped to determine if there was any evidence to support a bail-jumping charge, the paper reported, citing an official from the district attorney’s office.

Pines told the paper that Howard “sought to uncover the private information of Americans who donated to Garrett Rolfe’s defense because they believed in his innocence.”

The district attorney’s office did not respond to the paper or an after-hours email from Fox News seeking comment.

Pines told the paper that the move may have been a "pretext to intimidate the people who have spoken out on behalf of our client.”

Rolfe, 27, faces 11 charges including felony murder in the killing of Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man.

Police body cameras showed Rolfe and another officer having a calm conversation with Brooks for more than 40 minutes after complaints that Brooks had fallen asleep in his car in a Wendy’s restaurant's drive-thru lane on June 12.

But when officers told him he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted. A struggle was caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed a stun gun from an officer and fled, firing the stun gun at Rolfe as he ran away.

An autopsy found Brooks was shot twice in the back.

Rolfe was fired shortly after the shooting and the other officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on desk duty. The police chief stepped down less than 24 hours after the shooting. Lawyers for both men have said their actions were justified.

The paper reported that the online effort pulled in more than $500,000. Rolfe is out on bond and was recently criticized for traveling to Florida without permission.

“It is disrespectful, number one, to the judge. Number two, to the judicial system. And, number three, to the family of Rayshard Brooks,” attorney Chris Stewart told WSB-TV. “He is an officer. He understands this process better than anyone else. It doesn’t list vacation as one of those things.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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