Demetria Brooks-Glaze traveled across Texas for the past year so she could properly bury her brother, Roderick Brooks.
She ultimately decided to bury him in a cemetery in her hometown of Longview, where her mother is buried. He stops by the site whenever he is in the area.
“I can’t go home without visiting,” Brooks-Glaze told HuffPost. “It still looks like we just buried it.”
This weekend will mark one year since a Harris County deputy fatally shot Brooks, a 47-year-old unarmed black man, after he allegedly stole detergent from a Dollar General store in Houston and pushed a store worker as he was leaving. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has yet to send the case to a grand jury.
“It shouldn’t have taken that long for the case to get to the grand jury, regardless of whether he was preparing for trial and trying to get the right grand jury,” Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, a lawyer for Brooks’ family, told HuffPost. “Of course we want it done right, but it shouldn’t have taken that 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 robbery and assault at Dollar General.
“A customer ran out of the store and hit me on the way out,” the employee said during a call, the recording of which has been released by police. “I just want him arrested because he’s 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 attention.
Body camera footage shows Hardin chasing Brooks near a gas station. It then shows that Hardin hit Brooks with a taser, knocking him to the ground, before Hardin pinned him to the ground and shot him where his head and neck met.
“I am disgusted with how the city of Houston, Harris County itself is handling this,” Brooks-Glaze said. “Basically, it was a punching bag. We didn’t even recognize Roderick when we went to the funeral home. I saw it and I collapsed.”
Two months after Brooks’s murder, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sergeant and sheriff’s office, which is ongoing. In the lawsuit, the family alleges that Brooks’ death could have been prevented if Hardin had been sentenced beyond probation for seriously wounding another man the week before the shooting.
Hardin was suspended without pay eight different times between 2004 and last July, according to personal files. obtained by HuffPost. The violations included crashing his squad car into another vehicle, making false statements to his supervisors, and making lewd and sexual comments to officers working for 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 returned to active work as a deputy, according to attorneys for Brooks’ family.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the 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 much faster than 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 prompt Ogg to clarify whether his office intends to press criminal charges.
“They gave my brother no respect,” Brooks-Glaze said. “But he’s still our little brother, despite everything he’s been through.”