ATLANTA, Ga. – Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr requesting the Department of Justice immediately open an investigation into the egregious abuse of power Fulton County District Attorney (DA) Paul Howard has demonstrated in his handling of the Rayshard Brooks case.
“As someone who has dedicated their career to the pursuit of justice, you understand that our Founders intended for our justice system to be blind – blind to race, blind to socioeconomic status, and blind to politics,” Collins wrote. “Not only should our justice system pursue actual, tangible justice, it should also pursue the appearance of justice. Georgians must have confidence that both the process and the outcome of this case is devoid of any and all political influence. Unfortunately, Georgians have rightfully lost that confidence in DA Howard.”
On June 18, 2020, DA Howard, who is in the middle of a contentious primary runoff, announced his decision to charge two Atlanta Police Department (APD) officers with a litany of crimes, including felony murder, before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had completed its investigation and without presenting evidence to a grand jury. According to DA Howard’s own words at the press conference, this is only the fourth time his office has filed felony charges prior to indictment. Additionally, DA Howard’s office implored the court to order that one of the officers be held without bond, and that if bond was to be set, that it be set at $1 million.
“To demand Officer Rolfe be held behind bars, pending trial, for his actions in the Rayshard Brooks case – actions that have yet to be fully investigated by the GBI – is a dangerous precedent and a signal that DA Howard is not considering justice in this case, he is considering re-election,” he added.
“I ask that you engage any and all Department of Justice resources you consider appropriate to ensure that these officers are treated fairly under the law, and are not subject to abrogation of their right to be treated fairly under the law simply because they are law enforcement officers,” he continued. “In times like these, Americans expect our criminal justice system to fervently pursue the truth. I hope that the outcome of this case will reflect that goal.”
When DA Howard first announced charges against the officers last month, Collins called on Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to appoint an independent district attorney to ensure Georgians have complete confidence that this case is devoid of any and all political influence.