Harris Co. sergeant accused of killing assault suspect involved in questionable incident week before

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, July 14, 2022
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A deputy accused of pulling the trigger in a deadly shooting is also accused of ignoring his training and using his taser on a man who fell from a bridge the week before.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County Sheriff's Office sergeant who shot and killed an assault suspect who got ahold of his stun gun was involved in a questionable incident the week before.

Sgt. Garrett Hardin is on mandatory leave following the deadly shooting of Roderick Brooks on July 8. ABC13 has learned Hardin was being scrutinized for using his stun gun on someone else on a bridge on July 1.

SEE ALSO: Family of man killed by HCSO sergeant demands to see body camera video

Law enforcement sources say Hardin was among the officers who responded to an auto-pedestrian accident on the North Freeway and FM-1960. A man, who officials said appeared to be under the influence, was walking in the main lanes on the overpass and even climbed on the barrier. Once he stepped off and away, Hardin used his stun gun on him, sources say. The man went off the overpass, landed about 35 feet below, and was critically injured.

HCSO policy states deputies should avoid using a taser on someone who is on an "elevated or unstable surface such as a tree, roof, ladder, ledge, balcony, porch, bridge or stair," or on someone who "could fall and suffer serious injury to the head or other area."

Hardin is a 20-year veteran and a supervisor.

A week later, Brooks, a theft and assault suspect with a lengthy history of theft and trespassing, was shot and killed.

Cell phone video obtained by ABC13 shows the moments after the shooting, where Brooks was on his stomach and Hardin was on top of him.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Suspect who stole Harris Co. deputy sergeant's taser was shot and killed, sheriff says

According to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science, Brooks was shot in his neck. Officials said he had gained control of Hardin's stun gun after a foot chase that stemmed from theft and assault at a Dollar General on FM-1960.

Brooks' family has called for the release of the officer's body-worn camera video. On Tuesday, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he is committed to a transparent investigation. On Wednesday night, Hardin's attorney cautioned against releasing the video before the appropriate time.

"Releasing the bodycam video without the proper context is wrong and it's dangerous. That's what it is," Hardin's attorney, Justin Keiter, told ABC13. "We have no doubt Sergeant Hardin was well within his rights and will be exonerated. What he did was necessary for his safety, and that of others."

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