Melissa Rolfe says she was fired from her job in a “political movement” because her stepson is former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe.
In a Tuesday interview with Fox News, Melissa Rolfe spoke in detail about what happened after Garrett Rolfe was criminally charged in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks on June 12, fueling protests against police brutality that was already underway. erupting in the death of George Floyd. . In addition to the ongoing criminal case, Melissa Rolfe lost her job on June 18 as director of human resources for Equity Prime Mortgage in Atlanta. While the company has said this was due to the creation of “a hostile work environment,” Melissa Rolfe maintains that she was fired because of her relationship with her stepson.
“It was a political movement,” said Rolfe, who has strongly supported his stepson and said that the “war on the police” must end.
Melissa Rolfe started at Equity Prime Morgage in Atlanta in February as director of human resources for the company’s nearly 400 company employees across the country, she said.
Immediately after Brooks’ death, which attracted national attention and sparked further protests from Black Lives Matter activists, Rolfe made sure he had the company’s support. Equity Prime Mortgage president Eddy Pérez called and offered Rolfe six or eight weeks of paid time off so he could be with his family, Rolfe said.
“I offered to work from home and he said ‘no, no, don’t worry about it. Your job is safe,'” Rolfe said. “‘Don’t worry about a thing … just take care of your family.”
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But the company’s support quickly evaporated on June 18, the day after a Georgia district attorney slapped Garrett Rolfe on 11 counts, including a felony, that could lead to the death penalty. (A second officer, Devin Brosnan, faces three charges, including aggravated assault.)
After Melissa Rolfe and her husband finished dropping off their son at the lawyer’s office to turn himself in to the authorities, Melissa received a 56-second call with her direct manager. Equity Prime Mortgage was finishing it right away and she gave no reason. Her boss offered to pack and ship her belongings from her Atlanta office, and then the conversation ended abruptly, she said.
As Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” reported on his abrupt dismissal on June 19, Equity Prime Mortgage released a statement of the reasons for the dismissal that shocked Melissa Rolfe.
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Equity said Rolfe was fired for violating company policy and creating an uncomfortable work environment for his coworkers. The company said it values ”diversity of thought,” but “when those views create a hostile work environment, we must make difficult decisions and separate.”
Rolfe was “stunned” by the prosecution, especially since she had not been in the office since Brooks’ death. And as the director of human resources, she knows the company’s policies well and maintains that she did nothing wrong.
“They were false statements about me. Nothing was true,” Rolfe said.
“When I spoke to my direct manager and the president, they assured me that everything was fine in the office, continuously through the phone calls and text messages that I received,” Rolfe said. “Everything is fine. My work was fine. Don’t worry about it. We didn’t get any negative feedback. So I was very surprised how I was able to create a hostile work environment. I had not returned.”
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Equity Prime Mortgage told Fox News Tuesday “we have no further comment on the matter.”
Rolfe suspects the company may have directed her to Facebook posts where she was alongside Garrett and contacted a local politician, Marjorie Greene, who has been outspoken in supporting the matter.
On Melissa’s Facebook page, she has posted photos and notes supporting her son’s innocence and defending police officers, who have been the target of nationwide protests in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Rolfe has posted photos of Garrett in uniform saying “I’m with Officer Rolfe” and promoted the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization’s fundraising page for Garrett’s legal defense fund, which calls the shooting “justified ” On the afternoon of June 18, he spoke in support of the wave of officers who called in sick at the Atlanta Police Department, saying “The blue flu must continue and grow until Officer Garrett Rolfe is released on bail!”
Rolfe also contacted Greene, who is vying to become the next congresswoman for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. “Our family has been completely devastated by all of this nonsense,” Rolfe wrote, thanking Greene for her pro-law enforcement posts.
Rolfe says nothing he did was a shootable crime and has received no guidance from his former employer on what exactly they were having a problem with.
“We have heard rumors that it was due to a Facebook post,” Rolfe said. “We heard the rumor that it was because I contacted our future congressman Marjorie Greene, which I absolutely have the right to do. But then again, they haven’t said anything, so I don’t know what their exact position is.”
Company president Perez told Rolfe that some of the security guards in the Atlanta office were upset with her and were making statements, she said.
“The statement was supposedly ‘did you know that the son of your human resources director killed one of our brothers,'” Rolfe said, the president told him. “I was flabbergasted.”
Although she lost her job, Rolfe said her husband still has full-time employment and that they have been fortunate to have received donations to cover Garrett’s legal defense fund.
She said she would like to return to work in human resources, but has no interest in returning to Equity Prime Mortgage due to how they treated her.
“I don’t want to get that job back,” Rolfe said. “I have lost total trust with that company. I would no longer feel safe in that company. They have completely slandered me.”
Police body camera video showed Brooks, 27, and the officers having a quiet, cooperative conversation for more than 40 minutes. A fight broke out when police tried to handcuff Brooks for being intoxicated behind the wheel of his car in a Wendy’s car. Brooks grabbed an electric pistol from one of the officers and fired it in his direction as he tried to flee. Rolfe, in his search, opened fire with a pistol. Brooks died after he was shot twice in the back.
Announcing the charges for officers earlier this month, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said investigators reviewed numerous videos of the incident.
“We have concluded, at the time Mr. Brooks was shot, that he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or officers,” Howard said at the press conference.
Rolfe’s lawyers said he used permissible force as he feared for his safety and that of the civilians around him.
Melissa Rolfe said she is now focused on proving her stepson’s innocence. Garrett’s charges came in the wake of national disgust with then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Activists took to the streets demanding racial justice and firing the police. Politicians have been pressured to act.
Rolfe said her son is being unfairly grouped in the same category as Chauvin, despite different circumstances.
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“I would say retain your judgment … let the truth come out,” said Rolfe, who believes that Garrett will eventually be exonerated.
“I feel like it was a bad time in every way,” Rolfe said, citing the riots and protests in Atlanta and across the country. “We have a horrible war on police officers and it must end.”
She urges people to stand up with the police, thank them for their service, and buy them a meal if they can.
“We are trying to convey that because this movement is so much bigger than just Garrett,” Rolfe said. “We would really like to spread the word to say thanks to a police officer.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.