HOUSTON – Community leaders and attorneys for the family of Roderick Brooks are calling out the Harris County Sheriff’s Office about the investigation surrounding the death of the man who was fatally shot by a deputy following an incident of alleged shoplifting.
It all began on July 8 when, according to deputies, Brooks stole from a Dollar General on FM 1960 and pushed the manager at the store.
An HCSO sergeant pursued Brooks in a foot chase, and ended up deploying his taser. Authorities said while the two men were on the ground, Brooks was able to get ahold of the sergeant’s taser. That led to the sergeant opening fire with his duty weapon, fatally striking Brooks.
Authorities said Brooks posed a threat to the law enforcement officer, however, the family’s attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem said several witnesses at the scene, in addition to pictures and videos circulating, paint a different story.
Karriem further said the footage released by authorities appears to be ‘doctored up.’
“We saw two different versions prior to July 22, and as I am watching this third version that was released to the public, what I’m noticing is that it did not show Officer Hardin punching multiple times as witnesses have come to us and told us - five different witnesses - that he pulverized Roderick Brooks with punches,” she said.
Karriem said witnesses told the family that Brooks was shot in “cold blood.”
Community activist Deric Muhammad said that he and the family do not accept what authorities are telling them.
“You cannot trust a skunk to investigate its own funk,” Muhammad said. “And that is exactly what we are doing or trusting when we trust them to investigate themselves. We are saying to the intelligent public, ‘do not accept the version of what they have given us as it relates to how Roderick was murdered.’”
Muhammad explained that, in his opinion, many things don’t add up.
“Even with what they released, there are certain things that you could not edit out. You cannot edit out the fact that Roderick Brooks was an unharmed Black man. You cannot edit out the fact that Roderick Brooks was fleeing away from the officer, not running toward him and thereby he was not a threat to the officer,” Muhammad said. “We cannot edit out the fact that this officer deployed his taser on a shoplifting suspect as he was running away. We cannot edit out the fact that the police officer carefully placed the taser within Roderick’s reach to give him an excuse - not a reason - but an excuse to execute this Black man in broad daylight.”
After the fatal shooting, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez posted a message on Twitter, which read:
“Our investigation into the shooting involving our HCSO Sgt. G. Hardin and Mr. Roderick Brooks on July 8th, remains on-going. Our condolences go out to the family of Mr. Brooks. We are committed to a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation. We take every incident involving the loss of life extremely serious. If there is anyone that was a direct witness to the incident that we have not yet identified, please contact our Homicide Unit at 713-274-9100.”
In regards to Tuesday’s news conference, KPRC 2 has reached out to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for a response to the family’s claim and are awaiting a response. When we receive it, this article will be updated.