Reinstated Atlanta PD officer removed from side job
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta, Garden Lights is a holiday tradition for many.
To keep visitors safe, the Atlanta Botanical Garden recently hired off-duty Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe to work security. But Rolfe claims he was later reassigned after a customer allegedly recognized him and complained.
In 2020, Rolfe was charged with the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks during an attempted arrest at a Wendy’s restaurant. He was later exonerated after a court concluded he acted reasonably when using deadly force. And this year he got his old job back.
Rolfe’s attorney issued the following statement about what happened at the garden.
“The actions of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (ABG), and the people who reportedly complained about the presence of officer Garrett Rolfe at ABG, demonstrate the profound, lasting, and irreversible damage done to his professional reputation as a result of his unlawful termination and false arrest even after he was returned to work with back pay and cleared of all criminal charges and allegations of wrongdoing by two independent bodies.”
So, who released Rolfe from his off-duty job and why?
Earlier Tuesday, the Atlanta Botanical Garden told Atlanta News First that Atlanta Police reassigned the officer.
Shortly after, an APD spokesperson refuted that claim and said the department’s standard operating procedure prohibits them from assigning or reassigning officers working off-duty jobs.
And after we pressed the Garden on the issue, they released an updated statement saying in part, “In this case, the Garden did not request that the officer be released from duty, but to be reassigned to another location on the property. The officer declined.”
A spokesperson with Atlanta Botanical Garden sent Atlanta News First this statement which reads in part:
“The Garden often requests off-duty Atlanta police officers for its safety and security needs. Officers are assigned and reassigned by an off-duty coordinator. The Garden communicates routinely with the off-duty coordinating officer on specific needs and safety issues. In this case, the Garden did not request that the officer be released from duty, but to be reassigned to another location on the property. The officer declined. The Garden’s highest priority is creating a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our guests. We appreciate all of the off-duty officers who make that possible.”
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