North Carolina cop accused of calling Rayshard Brooks’ death ‘justified’ on Facebook

Debora Carley

A police officer in North Carolina who reportedly posted on Facebook about the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta is now under investigation. A screenshot of a Facebook post shared online and credited to Nick Rhodes said the use of force displayed by white police officers in Atlanta when Brooks […]

A police officer in North Carolina who reportedly posted on Facebook about the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta is now under investigation.

A screenshot of a Facebook post shared online and credited to Nick Rhodes said the use of force displayed by white police officers in Atlanta when Brooks — a Black man — was fatally shot outside a Wendy’s on June 12 was “justified.”

“If you think the Atlanta shooting is anything other than a justified use of force, I have a uniform and gun you can wear,” the screenshot of the post reads. “Let us know if you prefer burial or cremation. You won’t make it.”

New Bern Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. announced Tuesday an incident involving one of his officers, who is not named in the release, had been “turned over to Professional Standards for review” after his department received multiple complaints from the community.

“For years, we have invested a lot of time and effort into building partnerships throughout our community,” he said in the release. “We believe in holding ourselves accountable to those we serve. I ask for the community’s patience as we complete a review of this incident to ensure thoroughness and fairness.”

Toussaint also said the comments attributed to an officer aren’t indicative of “the policies and practices” followed by the New Bern Police Department.

The New Bern Police Department confirmed that there is an officer on the force named Nick Rhodes, but would not say whether or not he is the officer being investigated, because it’s a personnel matter.

Brooks was shot in the back after a more than 40-minute encounter with police in the parking lot of an Atlanta Wendy’s, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Police were responding to a call that Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru lane and was blocking traffic.

Officer Garrett Rolfe, who fired the shots, has been charged with felony murder, according to the Associated Press. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, faces charges for aggravated assault and violating the oath of office.

New Bern Police Department’s investigation of Rhodes’ comments comes at the same time three officers in nearby Wilmington were fired for making racist remarks.

Cpl. Jessie Moore as well as officers Kevin Piner and Brian Gilmore with the Wilmington Police Department are accused of using “hate-filled” language during conversations that were inadvertently recorded in Piner’s car, the AP reported. At one point, Piner can be heard saying “we are just going to go out and start slaughtering them (expletive referring to Black people). I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait.”

Two of the officers have been on the force since 1997, according to public records released by the City of Wilmington. The third has been with the department since 1998.

Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams — whose first day on the job was Wednesday — called it “the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career,” according to a statement released on Twitter.

The city also removed two of its confederate monuments following the announcement, McClatchy News reported.

According to Injustice Watch, a nonprofit media organization in Chicago, comments made by the officers in North Carolina aren’t uncommon on social media.

In a study of almost 3,000 social media accounts belonging to current police officers and an additional 600 retired officers across the country, Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White found posts “replete with racist imagery and memes, and in some cases long, vitriolic exchanges involving multiple officers,” Injustice Watch reported.

The results were compiled as part of The Plain View Project.

“This blows up the myth of bad apples, by the sheer number of images and numbers of individuals who are implicated,” Nikki Jones, an associate professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley, told Injustice Watch of the study’s results.

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