Tuesday, April 24

Unarmed man shot dead by Houston police officer in broad daylight

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In a problematic case of a police shooting, Danny Ray Thomas was shot by a police officer and Sheriff’s deputy Cameron Brewer in Houston, Texas. Thomas’ family claim the shooting was a clear example of police brutality and perhaps, rightly so.

As the Houston Police Department said in a statement,

“Thomas was walking in the middle of the intersection of Imperial Valley and Greens Rd with his pants around his ankles, talking to himself and hitting vehicles as they passed by.  Thomas then struck a white vehicle, and the driver exited and engaged in a physical altercation with the suspect.  A Harris County Sheriff’s deputy was travelling southbound on Imperial Valley and viewed the altercation as he approached the intersection.  The deputy exited his vehicle to stop the altercation, at which time the suspect started walking toward him.  The deputy gave Thomas verbal commands to stop, which he ignored and continued to advance toward the deputy.  Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest.”

According to The Independent, Danny Ray Thomas “had been suffering from depression after the deaths of his two children in 2016 but had not been diagnosed with a mental illness […]”. Such dire circumstances may perhaps point those investigating the case of Thomas’ shooting to an explanation as to why he was hitting vehicles and walking around Houston with his trousers around his ankles in broad daylight.

Aside from the dashcam video provided by the Houston Police Department, another video shows

“onlookers at a bus stop [who]are heard laughing as they predict the officer will use a stun gun on the jaywalker […] “He’s about to get tased,”

Stated Kaaryn Young as she films. Gunfire rings out. She is heard asking in disbelief:

“He shot that man? He should have gotten tased!”

This video points to the issue of why Cameron Brewer used his gun instead of his taser after asking Danny Ray Thomas to halt. This issue has not yet been resolved and no explanation has been given for the Sheriff’s deputy’s actions. The family of Danny Ray Thomas has called on politicians to act against police brutality and have proclaimed that the shooting looks like “premeditated murder”.

It remains to be seen what the Houston Police Department’s investigation will result in.

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About Author

Matt is a law student at Durham University. As a result of his background as an international student, he has an interest in international affairs as well as politics and film.

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