No Charges One Year After Police Killed Unarmed Black Man

Demetria Brooks-Glaze traveled around Texas over the past year so she could properly lay her brother, Roderick Brooks, to rest.

She eventually decided to bury him in a cemetery in their hometown of Longview, where their mother is buried. She stops by the site every time she’s in the area.

“I cannot go home without going to visit,” Brooks-Glaze told HuffPost. “It still feels like we just buried him.”

This weekend will mark one year since a deputy in Harris County fatally shot Brooks, a 47-year-old unarmed Black man, after he allegedly shoplifted detergent from a Dollar General in Houston and pushed a store worker out of the way as he left. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office still has not sent the case to a grand jury.

“It should not have taken this long for the case to go to the grand jury regardless if you were prepared for the trial and trying to get the right grand jury,” Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, an attorney for Brooks’ family, told HuffPost. “Of course we want it done right, but it should not have taken this long.”

District Attorney Kim Ogg did not respond to a request for comment.

On July 8, 2022, Sgt. Garrett Hardin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to 911 calls from a worker and a witness about an alleged shoplifting and assault at the Dollar General.

“A customer is running out of the store and he hit me on the way out,” the female employee said during one call, a recording of which has been released by police. “I just want him to get arrested because he is literally running to the back of the building right now.”

She told the dispatcher that she did not believe Brooks was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and that she did not believe he had a weapon. She also said that she did not need medical care.

Bodycam footage shows Hardin chasing Brooks near a gas station. It then shows that Hardin hit Brooks with a stun gun, which knocked him down, before Hardin pinned him to the ground and shot him where his head and neck met.

Sgt. Garrett Hardin, a deputy in Harris County, fatally shot Brooks last year.
Sgt. Garrett Hardin, a deputy in Harris County, fatally shot Brooks last year.

Lawyers for Roderick Brooks’ Family and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office

“I am disgusted how the city of Houston, Harris County, itself is handling this,” Brooks-Glaze said. “Basically, he was a punching bag. We didn’t even recognize Roderick when we went to the funeral home. I saw him, and I broke down.”

Two months after Brooks was killed, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sergeant and the sheriff’s office, which is ongoing. In the suit, the family alleges that Brooks’ death may have been avoided if Hardin had been disciplined beyond being put on probation for critically injuring another man the week before the shooting.

Hardin was suspended without pay on eight different occasions between 2004 and last July, according to personnel files obtained by HuffPost. Infractions included crashing his patrol car into another vehicle, giving false statements to his supervisors, and making lewd and sexual remarks to officers working under him.

Hardin, who was still on disciplinary probation when the shooting occurred, was temporarily placed on paid administrative leave after the incident. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in civil court that Hardin has since started actively working as a deputy again, according to attorneys for Brooks’ family.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

“It shows that there is a different approach to how justice is received depending on who the suspect is. [When] the suspect is a civilian, you can expect things to move a lot more swiftly as opposed to someone else,” Justin Moore, another attorney representing the Brooks family, told HuffPost. “We need to hold everyone to the same standard, especially when it comes to our criminal justice system.”

Karriem, Brooks-Glaze and other supporters plan to hold a rally in Houston on Saturday, which they hope will push Ogg to provide clarity on whether her office intends to file criminal charges.

“They gave my brother no respect,” Brooks-Glaze said. “But he is still our baby brother, despite all that he has been through.”

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