A 20-year Harris County Sheriff’s Office veteran was indicted on a murder charge Thursday, more than 15 months after a bodycam captured him shooting a shoplifting suspect in the back of the neck.
A grand jury returned an indictment against Sgt. Garrett Hardin, who was taken off the streets and placed on desk duty since the July 8, 2022, incident that left 47-year-old Roderick Brooks dead.
Brooks’ family has been calling for Hardin’s termination ever since, and those pleas are only going to get louder with Thursday’s events.
“I am broken. (The indictment is) not going to bring him back.” Demetria Brooks-Glaze, the man’s sister, said. “We are not going to stop. This was our baby brother.”
The whole incident happened with a 911 call that summer day last year, when a Dollar General employee at the store off FM-1960 reported someone robbed the business and assaulted her.
Authorities identified Brooks as that suspect. Hardin responded and spotted Brooks near a gas station parking lot nearby. Body camera footage shows Hardin chasing after him.
“Stop, dude. I’m going to Tase you! Stop,” Hardin is heard in the footage. “Get on the ground! Get on the ground right now!”
Hardin then tackles Brooks to the ground and gets on top of him, with a Taser in view and on the ground. Brooks then grabs it.
“I am going to shoot you. Put that down. I will shoot you!” Hardin commands.
At one point, Brooks is seen removing his hand from the Taser, but then it disappears from view.
Hardin shoots a single gunshot in the back of his neck, killing Brooks.
“The video clearly shows this man shot Roderick Brooks in the back of the head without justifiable cause,” Justin Moore, Brooks’ family attorney, said. “I think when the jury saw this video, it’s hard for them to walk away and not indict this man.”
Hardin’s attorney, Justin Keiter, said his client had no other choice because the suspect had his Taser.
Keiter had some heated words for Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, saying he would be asking for a speedy trial.
“Hardin went to work, put a badge on, a vest, and according to the DA’s office, decided he was going to murder someone in uniform with a badge,” Keiter said. “It is, to say the least, disgusting, despicable, egregious, and, at the end of the day, political. I want to thank Kim Ogg for getting legislation passed that expedites murder cases because her quote to the media and citizens of this county was ‘We are ready.’ Well we are ready. So buckle up, we are ready to go.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office released a statement explaining the process and what Hardin faces if he’s convicted.
“A Harris County grand jury on Thursday indicted Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Garrett Hardin on a first-degree felony charge of murder, stemming from the July 2022 fatal shooting of Roderick Brooks.
It is the policy of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to present all officer-involved shootings to a grand jury to determine whether probable cause exists to support criminal charges. Harris County grand juries are composed of 12 randomly selected county residents who hear all available evidence in a case, including witnesses.
If nine or more grand jurors agree that probable cause exists, they issue a “true bill,” or indictment.
This process ensures that all such cases are subject to community review at the grand jury and, if necessary, trial level.
Now that an indictment has been handed down by the grand jury, the charges against Sgt. Hardin will proceed through the criminal court process like any other case.
If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from 5 years to 99 years or life in prison.”
Reporters reached out to the sheriff’s office about what the indictment means for Hardin’s employment. A spokesperson said he will be relieved of duty, and an administrative discipline panel will review and recommend possible disciplinary action.
With the indictment, Hardin will turn himself in, the case will be assigned to a court, and a bond will be set.
A previous report also revealed Hardin was scrutinized for using his stun gun on someone else on a bridge a week before Brooks died.