Voters in Georgia have ousted Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard — who charged two officers with murder in the Rayshard Brooks shooting earlier this summer — by a whopping 45-point margin.
What are the details?
Howard, a 20-plus-year incumbent and the first black district attorney elected in Georgia, lost his post to Democratic challenger Fani Willis in a runoff election Tuesday, WAGA-TV reported. Willis garnered 73% of the vote in a commanding victory over her former boss.
Howard conceded the race late Wednesday night saying, “I came in with pride and I’m leaving with pride,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Willis vowed to bring “transparency and accountability” to the district attorney’s office.
Howard was widely criticized following his decision to charge former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe with 11 counts, including felony murder, in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. Extensive bodycam footage and video surveillance appeared to show Brooks fleeing arrest, stealing an officer’s Taser, and firing that Taser at Rolfe before he was shot.
Howard argued that Brooks was not a threat to police, even in firing the Taser, despite stating that “a Taser is considered a deadly weapon” under Georgia law just two weeks prior.
BlazeTV’s Glenn Beck accused Howard of playing to the emotions of the black community and using the Brooks case to salvage his political career. The shooting occurred in the early aftermath of George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis and was a lightning rod within the Atlanta community.
By the time Howard announced the murder charges he was already embroiled in controversy. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation had launched an inquiry into allegations that Howard used a nonprofit to funnel at least $140,000 from the city of Atlanta into his own pockets.
The GBI, which said it was blindsided by the murder charges, later widened its probe into how Howard issued grand jury subpoenas in the Brooks case.
“In addition, three past or present female employees have filed lawsuits alleging harassment or discrimination,” WAGA-TV noted.
What will happen next regarding the Brooks case is unknown and will likely be up to Willis.