HCSO releases body camera video in which sergeant shoots, kills man accused of shoplifting
The Harris County Sheriff's Office on Friday released the body camera video showing what happened on July 8, when a sergeant shot and killed a man accused of shoplifting from a nearby store.
In the video, the sergeant, who has since been identified as Garret W. Hardin, is seen pulling into a parking lot to follow the suspect, 47-year-old Roderick Vankeith Brooks.
Hardin gets out of his patrol vehicle and yells at Brooks, "Come here, dude." Brooks responds by running through a gas station parking lot. Hardin chases after Brooks and fires his Taser, striking him. Brooks, who had just run into a car that was pulling into the gas station, stopped moving and Hardin tackled him to the ground losing control of the Taser, the video appears to show.
While Hardin is on top of Brooks' back, Brooks struggles to get up and manages to grab the Taser but appears unable to lift his arms.
Hardin responded by telling Brooks, "I'm going to shoot you, put that down. I will f****** shoot you."
Hardin is then seen pulling out his pistol as Brooks loses control of the Taser. While Hardin is still on top of Brooks' back, Brooks appears to grab the Taser again and pulls it towards his own body.
Hardin then fired his pistol, shooting Brooks.
As Brooks lay motionless on the ground, Hardin appears to apply pressure to the wound while talking on his radio.
"Shots fired," Hardin said in his first radio message. Moments later he spoke on the radio again. "I'm in the gas station parking lot, Bammelwood and Kuykendahl. Suspect's down. Need EMS."
According to HCSO, the shooting happened around 6:21 p.m. Brooks was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:31 p.m.
HCSO said its homicide division is investigating the incident. A separate investigation into the shooting is also being conducted by the Harris County District Attorney's Office's Civil Rights division. A third investigation is being conducted by the HCSO Internal Affairs division. HCSO said the findings of this investigation will be presented to the Administrative Disciplinary Committee, which will determine whether Hardin violated any policies or procedures.
Hardin has since been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigations.
On Thursday, Brooks' family said HCSO showed them an edited version of the body cam video.
"We saw Roderick grab the taser and he was moving it away from his body, as to get it out of the way, and then we saw the officer push his head down and take his weapon and fire him and killed him instantly," said Sadiyah A. Evangelista, one of the attorneys assisting the Brooks family.
Initially, the family said they were only shown edited clips, but when they asked, they were shown portions of the raw video.
“Also in the unedited footage, you can hear the officer say after the shooting occurred, 'Roderick was able to take control of my taser,' in the unedited footage you see him place the taser in front of Roderick and he relinquishes control of it – while he is getting his service weapon to shoot," said Justin Moore, another attorney for the family.