Rayshard Brooks shared struggles with justice system in interview before his death

Black man recently killed in a police-involved speaks on prison in doc on recidivism, 'You get treated like an animal'

In an interview with a company called Reconnect, Rayshard Brooks opened up about his past incarceration experience and how degraded he felt in the system.

Rayshard Brooks theGrio.com
Rayshard Brooks (Screenshot from Reconnect documentary)

In an interview with a company called Reconnect, Rayshard Brooks opened up about his past incarceration experience.

“You get treated like an animal,” he said, “Going through that process, it hardened me at a point … I have to have my, my guard up because the world is cruel.”

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Reconnect is a public benefit corporation that focuses on fighting recidivism.

Their online platform uses data to improve outcomes and provide support for suspects during their pre-trial court phase, and for re-entering citizens. The organization also provides addiction support.

They posted an ad on Craigslist, looking for people to share their stories about navigating the criminal justice system, and Brooks reached out to them.

The interview was filmed in February of this year, just months before Brooks was shot to death by Atlanta police officer, Garrett Rolfe on June 12.

“I just feel like some of the system could, you know, look at us as individuals,” Brooks said, “We do have lives, you know, was just a mistake we made, you know, and, you know, not, not just do us, as if we are animals. You know lock us away.”

Brooks was sentenced to one year in prison through a plea agreement. He was charged with false imprisonment and financial credit card fraud. He was told by his public defender that he could get 10 years in prison, and thus, accepted a plea.

In the video, he described being locked up for 23 hours a day and said the experience “messed” with his mental state.

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Brooks also described how his past incarceration made it difficult for him to secure employment. “Your heart just breaks,” he said. “You put up so much energy, you have so much hope, you’re going out trying to provide.”

“I’m trying, you know, I’m not the type of person to give up,” he said, “You know, and I’m gonna keep going until I make it to where I want to be.”

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