Houston, TX — Utterly shocking footage of a police-involved shooting was released this week showing Sgt. Garrett Hardin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office climbing onto the back of Roderick Brooks and executing him with a bullet to the back of the head. Brooks was suspected of shoplifting laundry detergent from a nearby Dollar General store. He was unarmed when he was killed.
According to police, they received a call about a man allegedly shoplifting from the store and shoving the store clerk on the way out.
The woman from the store called police and said a “Black man in a blue shirt, gray shorts and baseball cap” had taken items from the store without paying and hit her on the way out.
“A customer is running out of the store and he hit me on the way out,” the woman said during the 911 call, which can be heard below. “He pushed my arm out of the way.”
The woman told police that she was not hurt and did not need medical services.
“I just want him to get arrested because he is literally running to the back of the building right now,” she told police, adding that she didn’t think he was under the influence of any substances and told police he was unarmed.
The dispatcher went on to ask the woman if responding officers would face any threats when they confronted the man, and the woman told them no.
Another witness called 911 as well, telling police that the Black man had taken laundry detergent and shoved the woman on his way out.
Body camera footage picks up as Hardin responded to the scene. When Hardin gets out of his car, he runs after Brooks briefly before tasering him and causing the man to fall to the ground.
Brooks appears confused as to why the officer is on top of him and tries to get up.
“Why did you tase me?” Brooks asks Hardin. “Please get off me, man.”
Brooks then makes the poor decision to grab the taser which was left on the ground in front of him by Hardin.
“I’m going to shoot you. Put that down,” Hardin says. “I will f**king shoot you.”
At no time did Brooks point the taser at the officer and by the time Hardin pulled out his pistol, Brooks had dropped it. Despite Brooks dropping the taser, Hardin positioned his pistol at the base of Brooks’ head and neck and fired off a round — instantly killing Brooks.
“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 explained that even though Brooks temporarily held the taser that he was never a threat and was merely protecting himself.
“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.”
After killing Brooks, Hardin was placed on paid administrative leave while the department investigates, which is standard procedure.
Brooks’ family is now calling for the Texas Rangers and US Department of Justice to step in and investigate. Brooks’ sister, Demetria Brooks-Glaze told HuffPo that witnesses saw Hardin repeatedly punch Brooks, which is why he was struggling but that this wasn’t shown in the body camera footage.
“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.
Below is the video, warning, it is graphic.