The Houston Sheriff’s Department released body-camera footage last weekend showing a deputy holding a black man and shooting him at close range after receiving 911 calls about an alleged shoplifting and assault at a Dollar General store.
Sergeant Garrett Hardin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office put Roderick Brooks on the ground after a chase on July 8 and shot him, the video shows. Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, a Brooks family lawyer, told The Bharat Express News that the deputy sheriff shot the 47-year-old near where his head and neck met.
Brooks’ family has used police brutality and violence and called on Texas Rangers and the US Department of Justice on Tuesday to investigate the shooting.
They believe the police images only tell part of the story. Brooks’ sister Demetria Brooks-Glaze said witnesses told the family that the officer had beaten Brooks multiple times and that it was not seen on body camera images released by the department.
“The world needs to see what they’re doing. In this case, they’re not showing everything,” she said, calling the shooting a “racist act.”
“What gives you the right to take someone’s life by shooting them in the back of the head and neck?” Brooks-Glaze added.
Law enforcement officials said security video, which has not been released to the public, shows Brooks arriving at the Dollar General and then leaving without paying for items he grabbed from the shelves. A female employee confronted him at the exit, according to the police.
At 6:04 PM, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman saying that a “black man in a blue shirt, gray shorts, and baseball cap” had taken items from the store without paying and beat her.
“A customer runs out of the store and he hit me on the way out,” the woman said during the 911 call, a recording of which has been released by police. “He pushed my arm out of the way.”
The woman said she did not need medical attention.
“I just want him arrested for literally running to the back of the building now,” she told the dispatcher.
The woman later told the dispatcher that she did not believe the man had a gun and that she did not believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The dispatcher asked if the officers would be threatened once they arrived, and the woman said no.
A man called 911 twice and said he saw a man leave the store with laundry detergent and claimed the man “pushed a lady down” on his way out.
Footage released by police shows Hardin approaching Brooks in his car and stopping in front of a gas station.
“Come here, man,” the officer says as he exits his vehicle. He then chases Brooks through the parking lot.
“Stop, dude, I’m going to taser you!” says Hardin.
He tells Brooks to lie on the floor several times.
The officer then paralyzes Brooks and takes him to the ground. The images go dark briefly. When he returns, Brooks is on the ground and the officer has his hand on his neck. The tranquilizer gun is on the ground, close to Brooks’ head.
“Why did you taser me?” Brooks asks Hardin. “Please get off me, man.”
The two begin to wrestle. Pinned to the ground, Brooks grabs the taser in front of him.
“I’m going to shoot you. Put that down,” Hardin says. “I’ll fucking shoot you.”
The body-camera footage shows Brooks not aiming the taser at the cop and releasing it as Hardin reached for his gun.
Hardin then shot Brooks in the base of his head and neck while holding it to the ground.
Lawyers representing Brooks’ family are also in the process of filing a lawsuit against Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Hardin.
“This is what we see when we have a constant lack of honest policing in this country. It’s a head-to-toe failure,” Justin Moore, an attorney representing Brooks’ family, told The Bharat Express News. “Roderick would still be alive today if the rogue cop wasn’t here on these streets.”
“What we saw in raw footage shows that the officer was completely out of control and not following the policy,” Moore added.
Moore said Brooks never posed a threat to the sheriff’s deputy, even after the officer lost possession of his taser in the battle.
“The Taser issue is a red herring, and when you see the video, it grabs the Taser but releases it several times,” Moore said. “He never grabs it and points it to the officer. He tried to make it stop electrocuting him.”
Hardin is on paid administrative leave while the department investigates the shooting. There will be a city council meeting about the incident on Thursday at 7 p.m