Former NYPD officer Dan Bongino told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that “there was a bad and a worse option” regarding the police-involved shooting death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s in Atlanta.
“The worse option is to let this subject continue to engage in use of force against them [the officers], without stopping the episode,” Bongino, a Fox News contributor, said.
“Sadly, it resulted in his death, but make no mistake, the use of force was controlled by one person, the individual who resisted arrest, stole the weapon, ran away and then pointed it at the officers, which is clear on the video.”
Bongino made the comments the morning after protests and destruction, including a fire engulfing the Wendy’s restaurant.
The deadly confrontation started last Friday with officers responding to a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the restaurant’s drive-thru lane, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation [GBI], which has been investigating the shooting. The GBI added that Brooks failed a field sobriety test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.
The GBI released security camera video of the shooting Saturday. The footage showed a man running from two white police officers as he raised a hand, which was holding some type of object, toward an officer a few steps behind him. The officer drew his gun and fired as the man kept running, then fell to the ground in the parking lot.
GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Brooks had grabbed a stun gun from one of the officers and appeared to point it at the officer as he ran, prompting the officer to reach for his gun and fire an estimated three shots.
Host Pete Hegseth asked Bongino on Sunday, “What do you make of how officers handled the situation and how leadership have since handled it?”
“Obviously a man died. That’s tragic. Nobody wants to see that, whether it’s on the police side, on the community side, anywhere, we get that,” Bongino said in response. “Having said that, I always ask the question when it comes to law enforcement issues for the people who are sadly ignorant of them, many of whom haven’t lived in the shoes of a law enforcement officer themselves: ‘Well, what would you do?’”
He went on to explain the situation.
“You have an individual suspected of being intoxicated... what do you do?” Bongino asked. “You want to just let him go? Get him back in the car and mow down a family on the streets because he’s potentially drunk? So, let’s eliminate that as a really bad idea.”
He went on to say, “Now you’re going to arrest him and the subject clearly does not want to be arrested. OK, so let’s walk through, what do you do?”
“Well again, we can’t let him get back in the car, so we have to arrest him using force,” he pointed out. “Keep in mind, not force the police officers wanted, they don’t initiate it, the subject did.”
Bongino then explained the “bad or worse choice” presented to the officers.
“The bad choice was to have to engage in a use-of-force episode with this individual who pointed a Taser back at a law-enforcement officer he had just punched in the face,” Bongino said. “It wasn’t a good option to have to engage with your firearm. There were no good options. He’s dead.”
Bongino then explained that the “worse option” would have been to let the man “continue to engage in use of force against them, without stopping the episode.”
As the unrest continued, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed it had taken action against two police officers in connection with Brooks' death. Officer Garrett Rolfe, a veteran of more than six years with the force, was fired, and Officer Devin Bronsan, with the department since 2018, was placed on administrative duty, Fox 5 reported.
Bongino pointed out on Sunday that he was “one of the first people on this network calling out the episode with George Floyd as a grotesque abuse of force.”
He added that he will “continue to do so and so will the good cops out there, but I’ve got to tell you, nothing good came out of this [incident in Atlanta] yesterday, but you jumping down these cops and firing them without looking at it through a sane lens and saying, ‘What would I have done?’”
Bongino continued, “It’s just plain wrong and you’re not going to develop any respect by doing that either.”
Since the end of May, protests, which sometimes led to violent demonstrations across the country, were sparked by Floyd’s death after a now-former Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck in a viral video. Chauvin has been fired and charged with second-degree murder, among other counts.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.