Family of slain shoplifting suspect say officer ‘pulverized him’ before a shot to his neck

The sheriff’s office and the family offer conflicting accounts of what led to the fatal shooting of a Harris County, Texas, man.

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A Harris County, Texas, man was killed by a county sheriff’s office sergeant last Friday and his family is calling the shooting “unjustified and unnecessary.” 

Roderick Brooks, who had been free on personal recognizance bond for only a few hours in connection with a shoplifting charge, allegedly shoplifted from a Dollar General and assaulted a clerk at the store before he encountered Sgt. G. Hardin who tased him, then fatally shot him in the neck, according to The Houston Chronicle. 

“For the city and the state to allow this type of … racism, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Brooks’ older sister, Demetria Brooks Glaze, told the Chronicle. “My brother was treated worse than an animal. Shoplifting does not warrant killing a man.”

“For the city and the state to allow this type of … racism, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Roderick Brooks’ sister, Demetria Brooks Glaze, told the Houston Chronicle. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The family’s attorney, Sadiyah Evangelista, said witnesses told her that when Hardin saw Brooks, he began pursuing him on foot, having exited his police car without putting it in park. After tasing the 47-year-old Black man, the officer positioned himself on his back, then “pulverized [him] with punches,” according to the Chronicle’s account.

The sheriff’s office and the family offer conflicting accounts of what led to the fatal shooting. The sheriff’s office asserts that Hardin shot Brooks when he tried to grab the officer’s Taser, while the family insists that Brooks was defending himself against “a barrage of punches.” 

“The problem is that racist policing is alive and well in the United States of America, and I believe that Roderick Brooks was a victim of racist policing,” Deric Muhammad, a local activist said. “[Hardin] was so hellbent on hog-tying this Black man that he abandoned all of his general orders.

Several agencies — homicide, internal affairs and the civil rights division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office — are investigating the shooting. A grand jury will make the determination on charges. Meanwhile, Hardin is on mandatory leave.

“We can’t live without the truth. We need justice,” Evangelista said. “This family deserves to look at the last moments of Roderick’s life.”

Consequently, Evangelista and the Brooks family have requested that body camera footage of the incident be released and are insisting that the sheriff’s office be more transparent.

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