Two white Atlanta police officers' decision to chase and use lethal force on Rayshard Brooks was "completely justifiable," according to a longtime Georgia sheriff, who is also black.
Brooks, a black man, was shot while fleeing outside of a Wendy's after he took aim with a taser he had stolen from one of them during a struggle while resisting a DUI arrest.
Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, however, told CNN's Brianna Keeler he also rejects comparisons between Brooks' death and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot after being followed by a retired police officer and his son, and George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis under the knee of a police officer.
"When I saw the George Floyd case, I was outraged," Williams said. "I was so outraged that I wrote a letter to the governor, the head of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and the head of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, provided them with 7 standards I think are absolutely necessary to keep black men from being killed at the hands of police in the way of the Floyd case and the Ahmaud Arbery case."
But, Williams said his reaction was different when he saw how Brooks died, and he insisted claims from the man's family lawyer and others he was wrongly chased and killed are wrong.
"We saw on the video that Brooks was engaged in a fight with the officers," Williams, who has been a law enforcement officer for 30 years, told Keeler. "They were on the ground. We know that when we're on the ground, we have a very high likelihood of being hurt or killed. Not the place we want to be. It's not a wrestling match."
Then, when Brooks snatched an officers' taser and ran, they were justified to chase him, and then to shoot back at him when he turned back to fire the stolen taser at them.
When someone is hit with a taser strike, that person's muscles are locked up and they are incapacitated for five seconds, Williams said, meaning if one of the officers had been hit, his firearm could have been taken and used against him.
Williams added the arguments about Brooks' death are wrong, and there was "nothing malicious or sadistic" in the way the officers reacted.
He added, the reaction to Brooks' death sends the "wrong message to our black youth."
"We're telling them that it's O.K., that they can run from the police, they can take a weapon from the police, they can fight with the police and point a weapon at the police, and expect nothing to happen," Williams said. "That is the wrong message."
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