The sergeant in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office which cornered and shot and killed Roderick Brooksan unarmed black man, in Texas last month has a long history of disciplinary action for violating department policies and was on disciplinary probation at the time of Brooks’ death, according to records obtained by HuffPost.
The sheriff’s office has suspended Garrett Hardin without pay eight times since 2004 for offenses including crashing his patrol car into another vehicle, making false statements to his supervisors, and making lewd and sexual remarks to officers working under him. orders.
Hardin was first suspended in 2004, when he walked into a cell block after witnessing a fight between two inmates and left the security doors unlocked and unattended.
He has also been suspended without pay four times since 2005 for damaging patrol cars, records show.
In April 2008, Hardin was given a five-day suspension because it was determined he had “knowingly misdirected” his immediate supervisor about his involvement in a car chase, records show. Dashcam footage showed Hardin and a sheriff’s deputy engaging in a car chase after they were advised to play only a ‘support role’ with the Houston Police Department after a traffic check.
A deputy who was in the vehicle with Hardin told a supervisor he did not engage in the pursuit, and records indicate Hardin was “reluctant” to correct the deputy’s account. He later admitted that the statements he made to his supervisor about the lawsuit were “somewhat evasive and misleading”.
Hardin was recently suspended and put on probation earlier this year, after an internal investigation into allegations that he made lewd comments to people working under him.
As Hardin took roll call as supervisor, he told an assistant, “Don’t let me show you my dick is bigger than yours” and waved his hand to reflect the size of his penis, according to the deputy’s records. The comment was apparently a warning to his unit not to make any mistakes.
He also told a deputy that he would “eat that ass”, which she took to mean that he would heavily discipline his unit.
A deputy who was present at the time said, “I don’t know what kind of roll call you have” and left.
A woman said she asked Hardin to repeat what he said. She said he looked her in the eye and repeated that he would “eat her ass”, which she took as a sexual advance. She said during the investigation that Hardin’s comments were “rude” and created a “hostile” work environment and that she had “zero confidence” in him as a supervisor.
Hardin made the comments in front of several people, according to the report, and seven deputies were questioned about the incident as part of an internal investigation. One said she didn’t report Hardin’s statements initially for “fear of reprisal.”
Another deputy said Hardin told them, “Now that HR is gone, I can say what I want to say.”
During the investigation, Hardin said he did not recall making the comments, but if he had, he would have done so in jest.
Hardin was ordered to undergo sexual harassment training, placed on 180 days probation and suspended without pay for 80 hours. He is appealing this latest disciplinary case to the department, and a hearing date with the Sheriff’s Public Service Commission is set for October 19.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment on Hardin’s probationary period and list of suspensions.
Hardin was still on probation following the investigation into reports of his lewd comments on July 8 when he responded to a 911 call saying a man had robbed a Dollar General store and pushed a woman there. .
Body camera footage shows Hardin chasing Brooks, 47, through a parking lot, pinning him to the ground and stunning him with a Taser. The Taser fell next to Brooks’ face as he lay on the ground. When Brooks grabbed the stun gun, Hardin said, “I’m gonna fucking shoot you.”
Footage shows Brooks did not aim the Taser at the officer and dropped it as Hardin grabbed his gun.
Hardin fired a shot, which struck Brooks in the neck and killed him, according to an autopsy report obtained by HuffPost. Brooks also suffered blunt force trauma to the head and torso, along with scattered abrasions and bruises.
Brooks’ family and attorneys have called for Hardin to be fired from the department and charged criminally.
Justin Moore, an attorney representing the Brooks family, said in a statement to HuffPost: “From what we see in Hardin’s personnel file, and what we see out there – such as the multiple shootings involving officers and use-of-force incidents that left citizens dead or in critical condition, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has no problem harboring deputies who lie and put citizens’ lives at risk.
“There seems to be an incredible lack of institutional control with this agency, and that could very well be the tip of the iceberg. I can only imagine what a further investigation into the Harris County Sheriff’s Office would reveal.