Family of man killed by HCSO sergeant files federal civil rights lawsuit

Roderick Brooks was shot and killed after allegedly getting a hold of a HCSO sergeant's stun gun.

Mycah Hatfield Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Family of man killed by HCSO sergeant file federal civil rights suit
The family of Roderick Brooks, who was killed by a Harris County Sheriff's Office sergeant in July, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a man killed by a Harris County Sheriff's Office sergeant in July has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Roderick Brooks was shot and killed near the intersection of Kuykendahl and FM 1960 after a Dollar General employee called 911 saying Brooks shoplifted and assaulted an employee, according to law enforcement.

Sgt. Garrett Hardin responded to the scene, chased 47-year-old Brooks, used a stun gun on him, and shot him in the back of the neck.

"In no uncertain terms are we, the family, going to sit back and wait on Harris County to do the right thing," Sadiyah Evangelista, one of the family's attorneys, said. "We are going to exhaust every remedy we can."

The lawsuit names Hardin, HCSO, Harris County Commissioner's Court, and Judge Lina Hidalgo as the defendants.

"You have a person who holds themselves out to be a supporter of justice for all people, and she's lording over an agency that is extremely problematic and in a sense is oppressing people in Harris County," Justin Moore, the family's attorney, said. "She needs to address that."

Hidalgo's office did not respond to a request for comment.

While conducting their own investigation, the family's attorneys said they obtained a copy of Hardin's personnel record, which showed numerous violations.

"It suggests this is a person who was being protected by somebody in the Harris County Sheriff's Office," Moore said. "One of the things we want to do with this lawsuit is figure out who was protecting this officer."

The family has continued the fight to see the unedited body camera footage showing Brooks' death. They said that during a meeting with HCSO, they were shown two different "heavily redacted" versions of the video.

"It was really comical because the sheriff -- once we pressed him about that -- he said that was the first time he saw any video regarding that incident," Moore said. "He walked into that meeting unprepared."

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said they are not able to comment much because of the pending litigation and investigations. They did say their internal affairs investigation is ongoing, and Hardin is working administrative duty while it plays out.

Hardin has not been charged criminally. The case has yet to go before a Grand Jury. In a statement, the district attorney's office said:

"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," Moore said.


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