Crime

Harris County Sheriff's Office Investigating Deputy Who Shot and Killed an Unarmed Man

Still to discover:  why pull the gun rather than use the Taser?
Still to discover: why pull the gun rather than use the Taser? Photo by Robert Nelson via Flickr Creative Commons

Still to discover:  why pull the gun rather than use the Taser? - PHOTO BY ROBERT NELSON VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Still to discover: why pull the gun rather than use the Taser?
The Harris County Sheriff's Office has just announced it is investigating the March 22 shooting death of 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas, an unarmed man, by Deputy Cameron Brewer.

While on patrol traveling southbound on Imperial Valley, Brewer spotted Thomas in a dispute with another man at a Greens Road intersection. Thomas, who was on foot and whose pants were down at his ankles, was fighting with the driver of a stopped car. According to the sheriff's office, Brewer got out of his car and ordered Thomas to get on the ground. Instead Thomas walked toward the deputy. This was backed up by the dash cam video in Brewer's patrol car.

As Thomas approached, Brewer who was armed with a Taser and a gun repeated his order. There is no video recording of what happened next as Thomas stepped out of the picture frame, but within seconds the loud sound of a gun being fired is heard.

"Deputy Brewer fired one shot from his weapon, fatally wounding Thomas. Thomas was unarmed," the SO statement said. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Monday an internal review is moving forward. “We hold the public’s trust as sacred, and we know that this trust must be earned every single day,” Gonzalez said. “I will personally see to it that our investigation is conducted fairly, thoroughly, and expeditiously.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office: "Brewer had been issued a body-worn camera less than two hours before the shooting. The camera’s battery was charging in the deputy’s vehicle and the camera was not in use."

Brewer joined the Harris County Department in June 2016. He has seven years of law enforcement experience and has been place on administrative duty.

Perhaps most telling in the release from the Sheriff's Department was this statement: "Policies and training on the use of non-lethal and lethal force — particularly with suspects who may be in the throes of a mental health episode — are being thoroughly reviewed."
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