ATLANTA — More than a year after Rayshard Brooks was shot to death by an Atlanta police officer in a Wendy’s parking lot, the case finally has a prosecutor.
It took a judge’s order last month to compel State Attorney General Chris Carr to disqualify Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis’ office. On Wednesday, Carr’s office announced the appointment of Pete Skandalakis.
For more than 25 years, Skandalakis served as the district attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties. In 2007, he was named Georgia’s District Attorney of the Year.
In 2018, Skandalakis became the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia. The council assists local DAs with criminal cases and offers training to prosecutors. When the General Assembly is in session, Skandalakis is a constant presence, often weighing in on legislation that affects the criminal justice system.
“Director Skandalakis is a well-respected, experienced prosecutor who, in his non-partisan role as Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, represents the interests of all district attorneys and solicitors in our state,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement. “We are confident that the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia has the appropriate resources, and Director Skandalakis is the best lead for this case moving forward.”
Georgia State University law professor Clark D. Cunningham said the appointment brings a wealth of experience and credibility to the task.
“This makes the conduct of (former Fulton County DA) Paul Howard moot,” Cunningham said. “(Skandalakis’ appointment) is better for everyone concerned.”
Howard’s actions in swiftly bringing charges against Officers Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, and Devin Brosnan, led Willis to twice seek disqualification from the case. Carr twice refused, saying any conflict of interest belonged to Howard alone.
Howard’s use of subpoenas in the case against the two officers is currently under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The defense had also filed a motion for Howard’s recusal last July, arguing the former DA’s statements to the public were “ethically inappropriate.”
In a statement, Skandalakis said his team plans “a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding this case and, as with any case that comes before us, we will proceed where the evidence leads us.”