Arlington, TX — As readers of the Free Thought Project know, police killing or attempting to kill dogs is an all too common occurrence — happening so often that it is caught on video much of the time. Also, as the following tragic case our of Arlington, TX illustrates, all too often, police will attempt to kill a dog — miss the dog — and shoot and kill an innocent person instead.
In 2020, a Texas grand jury indicted a police officer after he was seen on video trying to kill a dog and killing an innocent woman instead.
Arlington police officer Ravi Singh was charged with criminally negligent homicide for killing Maggie Brooks, 30, the daughter of an Arlington fire captain. On Monday, however, he was found not guilty — despite overwhelming evidence against him. Naturally, this news upset Brooks' family.
"You see the video for yourself," Brooks' father, Troy Brooks said. "There's nobody that owns a gun that would ever take that shot. Ever. But if you're a police officer, you're covered in absolute immunity. You can do whatever you want, and there are no repercussions for you."
The Tarrant County District Attorney released the following statement after the verdict:
"A Tarrant County jury on Monday found former Arlington Police Officer Ravinder "Ravi" Singh not guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Margarita "Maggie" Victoria Brooks in 2019. Any time an officer is involved in the use of force that results in the death of a civilian, our office takes that investigation to a Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury returns an indictment on the officer, we prosecute the case. A jury heard the facts related to the death of Ms. Brooks in 2019. They evaluated the testimony and evidence and determined that Ravinder Singh was not guilty. By doing so, the jury fulfilled their duty in the criminal justice system, as did we."
Likely due to the fact that Singh was only facing a maximum sentence of 2 years in jail, even if he would've been convicted, the family began seeking justice through civil means in the form of a lawsuit last year.
“Officer Singh knew that he was firing his weapon in precisely the direction where Ms. Brooks was peacefully lying in the grass,” the seven-page complaint states. “Officer Singh struck Ms. Brooks in the chest causing pain, agony and death.”
According to court documents, the family is seeking over $1 million in actual and punitive damages for wrongful death and for the violation of Brooks' 14th Amendment rights. The family also hopes that this will lead to change in the Arlington police department policy to prevent further tragedies from taking place.
“Our hope is not only that this officer is held responsible for Maggie’s death, but that the Arlington Police Department is also held accountable for its lack of training and procedures in responding to welfare checks,” the family said in a statement.
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As TFTP reported at the time, Brooks' death was entirely preventable and was the sole result of irrational officer fear coupled with poor judgement and aim.
“It’s a puppy. This is a grown man afraid of a puppy. Who is the paid professional in this encounter? Every child, every mailman, every runner, jogger, bicyclist has dealt with a dog running at them and no one ends up dead. Why do you go to deadly force immediately?” Troy Brooks said at the time Singh was charged.
As TFTP reported, the shooting happened at approximately 5:15 p.m. on August 1, 2019. Police were in the area to conduct a welfare check on a sleeping woman who was reportedly passed out in a grassy area near Canton Drive and North Collins Street. That woman was Brooks. Instead of receiving help, however, Brooks received a fatal bullet.
According to police, as Singh approached the sleeping woman lying in the grass, he saw a stray dog. Singh called out to Brooks when all of the sudden, the dog started running toward him, so he fired his weapon several times. The officer missed the dog, but hit the woman instead.
"As the officer called out to the woman repeatedly concerning her welfare, the dog began to run towards the officer while barking. The officer retreated backwards from the running dog while drawing his duty firearm," police said at the time. "The officer discharged his firearm multiple times towards the dog. After the shots were fired, the woman yelled out and it was apparent she was injured."
“Oh my God,” Brooks screamed. “The police shot me.”
Brooks was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her three children — ages 9, 11, and 13 — now live with their grandfather, who says this entire situation could've been easily avoided.
“Rule number one," he said. "Don’t kill the citizens."
Unfortunately, that rule was broken and no one will be held accountable.