GEORGIA

Ex-officer granted bond in Brooks case

A judge on Tuesday ruled that the former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks can be free on bond while his case is pending.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick set a bond of $500,000 for Garrett Rolfe, who faces charges including felony murder in the killing of Brooks, a 27-year-old black man. The shooting by the white officer happened against the backdrop of demonstrations nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Lawyers for Rolfe argued that he is a native Georgian with strong ties to the community who is not at risk of fleeing or failing to show up for court and is not a danger to the community. A prosecutor argued that Rolfe had committed an unjustified fatal shooting and was a flight risk and might intimidate witnesses.

Brooks’s wife, Tomika Miller, made an emotional plea to the judge, asking her not to grant Rolfe bond.

“I say no to it,” she said. “I say no because, mentally, I’m not able to handle it.”

Explaining her decision to grant bond, Barwick said Rolfe “is not a flight risk and I do not believe he is a danger to the community.”

The conditions of his bond include wearing an ankle monitor, complying with a curfew, surrendering his passport, not possessing any guns and having no contact with victims, witnesses or police.

— Associated Press

LOUISIANA

Former deacon dies awaiting rape trial

A former Roman Catholic deacon awaiting trial on rape charges in New Orleans has died, his defense attorney said on Tuesday.

George F. Brignac, 85, had been accused of sexually abusing children for years before being removed from the ministry in 1988. He was charged last year with first-degree rape after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Police said the abuse began when the boy was 7 years old and continued until he was 11.

Brignac had been in declining health after suffering a fall in the local jail that “broke his back,” defense attorney Martin Regan said. He had been out on bail and died Monday, hours after being hospitalized.

“He fully expected to be acquitted in this case,” Regan said, “and he was looking forward to going to trial to clear his name.”

Kevin Bourgeois, the local volunteer leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he was saddened for the “scores of men who were denied their day in court to see justice served.”

— Associated Press