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Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard listens during the re sentencing hearing in Fulton County Superior Court, Thursday, April 30, 2015 in Atlanta. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter reduced the sentences for Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts, Tamara Cotman, Sharon Davis-Williams. Each was given three years in prison and seven on probation. They were also fined and sentenced to community service. ( Kent D. Johnson/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

 

Hopefully, everyone remembers Paul Howard, the District Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, who charged Atlanta Police Officer Garret Rolfe with felony murder — a potential death penalty offense — after Rolfe shot and killed fleeing felon Rayshard Brooks.  As Rolfe and another officer had moved to handcuff Brooks after placing him under arrest for drunk driving, Brooks began to fight both officers.  In the course of the struggle Brooks managed to wrestle away the taser device belonging to one of them and began to flee.  Rolfe chased Brooks across the parking lot and shot Brooks after Brooks had turned and fired the taser at Wolfe.  Extensive video and audio of the entire incident, including from body cams worn by the officers has been widely seen.

Howard held a quickly arranged press conference just days after the shooting to announce that his office had charged Officer Rolfe with felony murder.

On Tuesday Howard was dealt a crushing defeat the runoff of his bid for re-election.

I wrote three stories in quick succession after the charges were first announced.

Here is the first story I wrote — Pathetic Murder Charges Filed Against Atlanta PD Officer — about the outrageous press conference conducted by Howard in announcing the charges against Rolfe.

Here is the second story I wrote — Ridiculous Press Conference By Atlanta DA  — looking in more detail at the charges as explained during Howard’s press conference.

Here is the third story I wrote — DA Bows To The Mob and Ignores The Law — examining the well-established Supreme Court case law on the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.

In those articles, I touched on some facts about what a corrupt, unscrupulous, and dishonorable person Paul Howard was.  Among the topics was the fact that Howard was in the middle of a very tough re-election battle — one which he looked destined to lose.

Howard was first elected Fulton County District Attorney — covering all of Atlanta — in 1997.  He was re-elected five times thereafter and spent 23 years heading up the District Attorney’s Office.  But just a little more than a week prior to the shooting, he had finished second in the primary race for re-election in 2020, running behind Fani Willis, a woman who was formerly one of his top deputies.  Willis won the Democrat primary with 67,825 votes (41%)  to Howard’s 55,750, (35%).  Since neither had received more than 50%, a rematch was set between just the two of them for this past Tuesday, August 11.  The winner would be the next DA since no Republican had attempted to run for the GOP nomination.

The population of Fulton County is slightly more than 1 million people.  The population of the City of Atlanta is roughly one-half of the county, at just over 500,000.  Atlanta is a “majority-minority” city, with African-Amercians making up more than 50% of the City’s residents.

Howard seized on the Brooks shooting as his opportunity to shift the dynamics of the election contest he was on his way to losing, and he charged Rolfe with “felony murder” without waiting for an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to be completed, and without involving any investigators other than those he controlled inside the DA’s office.  Following his announcement of the charges in a televised press conference, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation issued a statement that it had not been consulted on the charges, nor had it been notified of the press conference prior to it taking place.  GBI stated that its investigation was still ongoing.

But to Howard, white police officer Garrett Rolfe was his ticket to the head of the line with the new prominence of civil rights groups and the “Black Lives Matter” movement on the issue of “police reform”, burnishing his image in the Africa-American community as he fought to keep his job.  Without even knowing what the investigation might produce, Atlanta PD Chief Erika Shields felt compelled to offer her resignation the morning following the shooting.

Well, August 11 came and went for DA Paul Howard — or I should say “Ex-DA Paul Howard.”   His actions over the last 7 weeks, beginning with charging Officer Rolfe with felony murder, turned his 6 percentage point deficit in the June primary — a margin of 12,000 votes — into a 46 percentage point loss in the runoff — 73% to 27% — with a margin of defeat of 28,000 votes.  

It is a truly sad fact that in a county of one million people — far few voters now doubt — only 60,000 people could be roused to get out and vote against such a duplicitous stupid man.  But for those that did venture forth, it is assuring that his vote total between the primary and the runoff declined from 55,750 who voted to re-elect him in June, to only 16,000 who were willing to pull the lever for him this week after what he did to Garret Rolfe and the Atlanta PD for the simple reason that he thought it would get him more votes.

Paul Howard is a brutally dishonest and stupid man.  The depth of that stupidity is measured by the fact that he sat huddled in his office after the shooting, and came to the conclusion that a proverbial “lynching” of Officer Garret Rolfe in the media would reverse his fortunes in the upcoming runoff with Fani Willis.

The proof of his stupidity is reflected in the results.  Nearly 4 out of 5 voters who voted for him in June refused to vote for him again in August.

I looked into the background of Fani Willis two months ago when evaluating the status of Howard’s re-election effort.  She does not appear to be a “Soros funded” ultra-liberal  She appears to be a former prosecutor for many years who Howard elevated to one of the key positions in his office.  But she had a disagreement with Howard that led her to depart the office, and then she decided to run against him.

Now that she has prevailed, and now that she can see clearly the response of Fulton County to the outrageous misconduct of Howard in his handling of the Brooks shooting, hopefully, she’ll take immediate steps to correct the situation.  The first step should be to drop the charges against Rolfe and wait for the GBI to finish their investigation.  The second step should be to fire everyone who was in the room cheering Paul Howard on when he announced the filing of felony murder charges against Rolfe.