The sheriff’s department in Houston released body camera footage last weekend that shows a deputy holding down a Black man and fatally shooting him at close range after receiving 911 calls about an alleged shoplifting and assault at a Dollar General store.
Sgt. Garrett Hardin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office pinned Roderick Brooks to the ground on July 8 after a foot chase and shot him, the video shows. Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, an attorney for Brooks’ family, told HuffPost that the deputy shot the 47-year-old near where his head and neck met.
They believe the law enforcement footage tells only part of the story. Demetria Brooks-Glaze, Brooks’ sister, said witnesses told the family that the officer hit Brooks several times and that it was not shown in body camera footage released by the department.
“The world needs to see what they are doing. In this case, they are 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 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 police.
At 6:04 p.m., the Harris County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman who said a “Black man in a blue shirt, gray shorts and baseball cap” had taken items from the store without paying and hit her.
“A customer is running 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 the police. “He pushed my arm out of the way.”
The woman said she did not need emergency medical services.
“I just want him to get arrested because he is literally running to the back of the building right now,” she told the dispatcher.
The woman later told the dispatcher that she didn’t believe the man had a weapon, and she did not think he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The dispatcher asked if the deputies would face any threats once they arrived on the scene, and the woman said no.
One man called 911 twice, saying had seen a man leave the store with detergent and alleging the man had “pushed a lady down” on his way out.
Footage released by the police shows Hardin approaching Brooks in his car and stopping in front of a gas station.
“Come here, dude,” the officer says as he leaves his vehicle. He then chases Brooks through the parking lot.
“Stop, dude, I’m going to tase you!” Hardin says.
He tells Brooks to get on the ground several times.
The officer then stuns Brooks, taking him to the ground. The footage goes dark briefly. When it returns, Brooks is on the ground and the officer has his hand on his neck. The stun gun is on the ground, close to Brooks’ head.
“Why did you tase me?” Brooks asks Hardin. “Please get off me, man.”
The two begin to struggle. While pinned to the ground, Brooks grabs the Taser in front of him.
“I’m going to shoot you. Put that down,” Hardin says. “I will fucking shoot you.”
The body camera footage shows that Brooks did not point the Taser toward the officer, and that he let go of it while Hardin reached for his gun.
Hardin then shot Brooks in the base of his head and neck while holding him to the ground.
Attorneys representing Brooks’ family are also working to file a lawsuit against Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Hardin.
“This is what we see when we continuously have a lack of honest policing in this country. It is a failure from top to bottom,” Justin Moore, an attorney representing Brooks’ family, told HuffPost. “Roderick should be alive today if it wasn’t for the rogue officer to be out here in these streets.”
“What we saw on raw footage shows the officer was fully out of control and failed to follow policy,” Moore added.
Moore said Brooks never posed a threat to the deputy, even after the officer lost possession of his Taser during the struggle.
“The Taser issue is a red herring, and if you see the video, he grabs the Taser but he releases it multiple times,” Moore said. “He never grabs it and points it at the officer. He tried to get it to stop electrocuting him.”
Hardin is on paid administrative leave while the department investigates the shooting. A town hall meeting on the incident is slated for Thursday at 7 p.m.