By Aswad Walker
Local community leaders and activists Deric Muhammad, Dr. Abdul Muhammad and Attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem were on hand at a press conference bringing attention to the latest police shooting of an unarmed Black man.
The victim, Roderick Brooks (47-yrs-old), was said to have shoplifted a bar of soap from a Dollar General.
According to reports, after a call was placed to 911, the Harris County deputy that shot Brooks was said to have jumped out of this vehicle, pursued Brooks on foot, and after catching him, shot Brooks with a taser, pummeled him with his fists and then fatally shot him in the neck.
The press conference was also attended by family members of Brooks, as well as Warren Randle, the father of Jalen Randle, who was shot and killed by HPD in April. Randle was also unarmed.
One of the main questions Muhammad and others asked at that press conference centered on why a reported shoplifting incident had to serve as a literal death sentence for Brooks, who has been described by those who knew him as a gentle, harmless spirit.
“It is the officer’s job to de-escalate situations like these,” said Deric Muhammad. “The problem with this case is, there is really no situation to de-escalate. The situation was escalated by the deputy.”
Karriem told KPRC TV that witnesses told her and family members the deputy tased repeatedly punched Brooks while he laid on his stomach.
“He’s in fear and (the) officer is on top of his back and the bystanders say he was being punched all over his head after he was tased and subdued,” said Karriem. “[He] began viciously assaulting Roderick Brooks and then when Roderick Brooks was facedown with his hands behind his back, believing that he was going to be tased again, the officer took his weapon and we know the end of this story… shot him in the neck, instantly killing him.”
According to sources, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to release the police body cam footage on Monday, July 18.
“This was not a violent human being. He was unarmed. He was not a threat to anybody. He was so-called shoplifting from the Dollar General. What could be valued high enough in a damn Dollar General to where it was worth taking somebody’s life? Everybody in this room knows that if that had been a German Shepherd, they would have treated it better than they treated Roderick Brooks,” said Muhammad.
The press conference took place at Manns Law Office Atonement & Dispute Resolution Center.
A social media post by Deric Muhammad that included the press conference video said this:
JUSTICE FOR RODERICK BROOKS!!! Today we stood with the family of Roderick Brooks who was murdered by a Harris County Sheriff Deputy (Sgt. G. Hardin) after shoplifting a bar of soap from a Dollar General Store. Roderick suffered from mental illnesses issues. The deputy (chased him on foot, “tasered” him, pummeled him several times and then fatally shot him in his neck. Roderick Brooks was unarmed. #JusticeForRoderickBrooks #RoderickBrooks #policebrutality #policeshooting #unarmedblackman #houston #harriscounty