Shields deemed to have violated Atlanta officer’s due process yet again

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The officer in the middle of a controversial shooting in Atlanta has been reinstated because the city violated his rights to due process, WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters have learned.

The current chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, Erika Shields, was the chief of Atlanta Police at the time of the fatal officer involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

This is the third officer who has been reinstated by Atlanta’s Civil Service Board after they found that Shields violated laws and provisions guaranteed to public employees.

Officer Garrett Rolfe was fired after the shooting. Rolfe still faces the possibility of murder charges, but filed an appeal for his job back arguing his use of deadly force was justified.

Officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, who were involved in an unrelated tasing incident were also fired by Shields before they gave a statement, were interviewed or any internal investigation. During those hearings, Streeter stated Shields refused to wait 20 minutes for his attorney to arrive before firing him.

In Rolfe’s case, his attorney Lance LoRusso stated his client was also not given the opportunity to respond to a proposed adverse action notice, which allows for a period of 10 days.

“The police chief does have the ability to hire and fire,” LoRusso told the board members during a hearing last week. “But she absolutely has to follow the rules and regulations of the city of Atlanta, the policies of the city of Atlanta, and the ordinance of the city of Atlanta and that was not done.”

Rolfe told the independent board he learned he was about to be fired the day following the shooting, and was instructed that he had one hour to respond in person.

Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced his termination during a press conference before Rolfe had a chance to respond.

The attorneys for the City of Atlanta argued Shields had the right to fire Rolfe under the Maltreatment or Unnecessary Force provisions. The Civil Service Board didn’t agree with how Shields proceeded with his termination.

During the hearings, another Atlanta officer testified other officers were also termination without due process, specifically the 10-day notice period.

WAVE 3 News reached out to LMPD for comment. In reply a spokesperson said, “Thank you for your inquiry however the department will refrain from commenting.”

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