On July 8, Roderick Brooks was shot to death by Sgt. Garrett Hardin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office after a foot chase. Last weekend, the sheriff’s department in Houston released the body camera footage that displays the sergeant pinning down Brooks and shooting him.
An initial call was placed from a Dollar General store about someone allegedly shoplifting laundry detergent and assaulting a store clerk. The footage shows Hardin running after Brooks. Hardin eventually catches Brooks and the video shows him firing his stun gun, which manages to hit the suspect.
The sergeant then apparently tackles Brooks to the ground. The sheriff’s office says the sergeant dropped his taser and Brooks grabbed it. Hardin screamed, “I am going to shoot you. Put that down! I will fucking shoot you!” Then he fired a single, deadly shot into the back of Brooks’s neck.
Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, who is representing Brooks’ family, told the Huffington Post that the officer shot the 47-year-old near where his head and neck met. “The Taser was never pointed in his direction,” Karriem explained. “The taser had already been deployed. There was no finger on the trigger for Roderick Brooks and, in fact, Roderick Brooks was scooting it under his body.”
Brooks’ family believes this a case of police brutality and Tuesday they asked the Texas Rangers and U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the shooting. They also believe the released footage was edited, with Karriem stating that a lawsuit is imminent.
A statement from the sheriff’s office confirmed that Hardin has been placed on leave:
“The incident remains under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division, Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs, and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. An autopsy is being performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The sergeant has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigations.”