The young actor said his mother called him with the news of Brooks’ death.
Niles Fitch opened up about the shooting of his cousin Rayshard Brooks.
During an interview on “The Mix,” the “This Is Us” actor spoke publicly for the first time about the death of Brooks, a 27-year-old Atlanta native who was shot in a Wendy’s parking lot as he fled police officers on June 12, less than three weeks after George Floyd’s killing.
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Security and cell phone cameras caught the tragic encounter unfolding, but when Fitch first watched the footage on television, he said it didn’t register as the countless stories of a Black man being gunned down by police had become all too familiar.
“I’m from Atlanta and I haven’t said anything publicly but my cousin was Rayshard Brooks,” Fitch, 19, told the panel. “I remember watching the video and I couldn’t see who it is or anything and I remember being like damn that’s crazy and I was a little numb to it and I kept it moving.”
He recalled his mother telling him later in the day that the victim was his own cousin.
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“It really set on me how bad it has been and how desensitized we are. It was a tough time but we got through it, you have to get through it. That is the only thing you can do.”
Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who chased Brooks down and fatally shot him, was fired and now faces felony murder charges. Officer Devin Brosnan, who was also at the scene, faces charges of aggravated assault and violations of oath of office.
Fitch, who got his start on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” plays the teenage version of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) in flashback storylines for “This Is Us.”
He also has a role in the recently released Disney film “Secret Society of Second-Born Royals” as Prince Tuma.
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