On Tuesday, June 23, the daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Bernice King, gave a powerful speech during Rayshard Brooks‘ funeral.
“To the family of Rayshard Brooks, especially his wife Tomika Miller and their three daughters and son, and to all of you, my brothers and sisters—we really should not be here today,” King said. “This did not have to happen to Rayshard. There’s so many ways that Friday, June 12 could have ended and a police killing did not have to be one of them. And yet, here we are again.”
Brooks was fatally shot by two Atlanta police officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan on June 12 at a Wendy’s parking lot, after the officers responded to a 911 call that the 27-year-old had fallen asleep at the wheel. He reportedly failed a sobriety test and when officers tried to take him into custody, he resisted and reportedly stole on of the officers’ Tasers. During the brief pursuit, Rolfe shot Brooks three times.
“These tragic moments remind us that we are one because it impacts all of us and pulls on our heart strings,” Dr. King continued during her speech. “And although I did not have a chance to meet Rayshard, I am here to stand with you in what feels like an all too familiar moment. Having a father killed when I was only five years of age, my heart deeply grieves for [Brooks’ children] Dream, Memory, Blessing and Mekai.”
The killing of Brooks came weeks after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes.