By Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — A woman charged with arson in the burning of a fast food restaurant in the wake of Rayshard Brooks’ killing was granted bond Wednesday but must wear an ankle monitor and remain at home, a judge said.
Natalie White, 29, appeared in court by video from the Fulton County jail, where she has been held on a first-degree arson charge since she turned herself in Tuesday. An arrest warrant accuses her of setting fire to the Wendy’s restaurant using a torch made with a lighter and some type of can.
Protesters torched the restaurant June 13, the night after police killed Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man. Video shows that Brooks was shot in the back in the Wendy’s parking lot after he resisted arrest and fired a Taser while he was running away.
Before he was shot, Brooks told officers three times that he had been with a girlfriend named Natalie White that night. White’s lawyer, Drew Findling, has confirmed that his client is the person Brooks was talking about but has declined to comment further on their relationship, saying only that they were close.
Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge Todd Ashley set bond at $10,000 and said White must wear an ankle monitor to ensure she remains at home. He also prohibited her from using social media.
Findling told the judge that the allegation that she set the building on fire is a “false narrative.” He said Tuesday after her arrest that video shows the building was already ablaze when she’s seen approaching it.
Findling had asked for a signature bond, which would have meant White wouldn’t have to pay anything unless she missed court appearances. He also argued that house arrest was unnecessary, saying White has no criminal record and isn’t a danger to the community.
“I do not find the lack of a criminal record that persuasive,” Ashley said, noting that White is accused of setting fire to a building with other people around and right near a gas station.
An officer responding to complaints on June 12 of a car blocking the drive-thru lane found Brooks asleep inside. Police body camera video then showed Brooks and officers having a calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes.
But when officers told him he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to handcuff him, Brooks resisted. He and the two white officers wrestled on the ground. Brooks grabbed one of their Tasers and fired it in their direction as he ran away.
An autopsy found he was shot twice in the back.
Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, was fired and another officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on desk duty. The police chief stepped down less than 24 hours after Brooks died.
Rolfe, 27, is now facing 11 charges, including felony murder, and has a bond hearing scheduled for next Tuesday. Brosnan, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.
Lawyers for both men have said their actions were justified.