“You get treated like an animal.”
Those were the words of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks who was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer this month. Brooks spoke those words in February, just a few months before his death, during an interview he gave to a company called Reconnect, which focuses on fighting incarceration.
The company had posted an ad on Craigslist, looking for people to share their stories about navigating the criminal justice system, and Brooks answered the call.
CNN obtained the 40-minute interview with the help of CNN’s Political Commentator Van Jones, who said a colleague in the criminal justice field entrusted it to him.
In the video, it’s clear Brooks is searching for redemption and a better life.
He reflects on life behind bars and speaks openly about the struggles he faced after making the “mistake” that put him there.
“I just feel like some of the system could, you know, look at us as individuals. 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 described being locked up 23 hours a day and told when to wake up and where to go. He said it “messed” with his mental state.
“Going through that process, it hardened me at a point, you know to like, hey, you know, I have to have my, my guard up because the world is cruel, you know, it took me through seeing different things and, you know, in the system you know it just, just makes you harden to a point,” he recalled.
Read the full story about Brooks’ interview: