The family of Roderick Brooks, the unarmed Black man who was killed at the hands of a Harris County sheriff's deputy, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against multiple county departments and officials, per KPRC.
Brooks died on July 8 after being fatally shot in the back of the neck by Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Garret Hardin.
In the lawsuit, the family aims to hold Hardin, the Harris County Sherriff’s Office, Harris County Commissioner’s Court, and Judge Lina Hidalgo accountable for Brooks' death, which they believe was the result of excessive and illegal use of force and a violation of his civil rights.
The lawsuit also alleges that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez failed to implement and enforce policies and practices in the sheriff's office that would have protected Brooks' constitutional rights.
The fatal incident unfolded earlier this year when Brooks allegedly stole from a Dollar General and pushed a store manager.
Hardin chased after Brooks on foot and deployed his Taser.
According to authorities, Brooks grabbed the sergeant's Taser as the two were on the ground, which prompted Hardin to open fire against the unarmed Black man.
Authorities said Brooks posed a threat to Hardin, but family attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem said witnesses at the scene and video of the incident dispel their allegations.
Witnesses said Brooks was shot in "cold blood," according to Karriem.
The attorney also claims that 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,” Karriem said.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“A Civil Rights Division prosecutor goes to the scene of every officer-involved shooting. Prosecutors thoroughly and independently review all the evidence in each shooting and present all of that evidence to grand jurors who determine whether an indictment is warranted. We do this to ensure that a grand jury, which is comprised of members of the community, determines whether there is sufficient evidence for a criminal charge.”