Of all the things still unclear about the night Rayshard Brooks was shot to death by Atlanta police, there’s one thing his widow wants to know from the officers involved.
“Do they feel sorry for what they took away?” Tomika Miller wondered through tears in an interview with CNN. “If they had the chance to do it again, would they do it the same way or would they do it totally different?”
Brooks, 27, was shot dead by an officer Friday night at a fast-food restaurant after he scuffled with police who were trying to handcuff him, took one of their Tasers and ran. Brooks was suspected of driving under the influence.
Still, Miller said she’s not angry about how officers treated her husband, including how long it took to attend to him after he was shot, because “God will deal with that.”
“I know my husband would never want me to be upset with them or hold that on my heart,” she said. “He was a very forgiving person.”
Miller said she hasn’t seen any video footage of her husband’s death, and won’t turn on the television or radio, saying she won’t look at the video until “I lay my husband to rest, or maybe a year from now.”
Brooks was shot twice in the back, according to an autopsy report.
Garrett Rolfe, the officer who killed Brooks, was terminated Saturday, and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN on Sunday a decision on charges against the officer will be made “sometime around Wednesday.”
“(Brooks) did not seem to present any threat to anyone. The fact that it would escalate to his death seems unreasonable,” Howard said.
There are three charges under consideration, according to the DA: murder, felony murder and voluntary manslaughter.
The knock on the door
Miller said she last saw her husband at 4 p.m. Friday. The family had gone bowling and had “had a blast” that day, she told CNN. Miller said she was tired and went home to wind down.
When the knock on her door came later, she assumed it was Brooks, but it was a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent.
Miller thought the agent maybe had the wrong door, she said. She wasn’t thinking, she said, that they were about to ask her to identify him.
The agent asked to show her a picture.
“I knew it was my husband, and I wasn’t going to see him again,” Miller said.
“I wish I could apologize for not being with him. I feel so guilty,” Millier said, crying. “I know he wanted me to stay with him. I was just so tired that day.”
A loving father and husband
Miller had to tell the children that their father wouldn’t be coming home. She told them “he’s in a better place,” trying to keep it positive and keep her tears to herself.
Miller painted a picture of a loving father who couldn’t deny his children, especially the three girls, anything.
“They got him wrapped around their fingers,” she said. “There’s nothing they can’t have … even when I’m saying, hey, stop, don’t give them that, they don’t need that.”
Their son, a teenager, has shut down since his father’s death.
“He’s numb,” she said. “He’s not ready to talk about it.”
“I don’t think he thinks it could have happened to someone so close,” that it’s not just on television, Miller said.
The couple’s relationship, she said, was a “friendship no one could break.”
Brooks was a happy person and “always kept my spirits up,” she said, adding he “pushed me to be better” and to “grow into the woman I am today.”
Miller said she’s thankful for the protests but called on those taking part to remain peaceful. Destroying things is not going to help and that it only “makes us look like savages,” she said.
The Wendy’s where the shooting took place was set on fire Saturday night, and protesters marched onto a nearby interstate and shut it down.
There needs to be more community dialogue between people and the police officers sworn to protect them, Miller said. She wants change through communication, not aggression.
“When you protest and do it out of love, strength and good courage, it works,” she said. “It works.”
Brooks, she said, was sacrificed so that people will see black lives matter.
“I hate that it was my husband whose life was sacrificed,” Miller said, “but we have to stand up for our people.”
CNN’s Maria Cartaya contributed to this report.