The deputy who shot and killed an unarmed black man in Houston has been fired, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Cameron Brewer was fired in connection with the fatal shooting of Danny Ray Thomas on March 22, a statement from the HCSO said, after a disciplinary committee recommended his termination to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Brewer, who is also black, was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
The committee said that Brewer, who had a Taser, violated the agency’s use of force policy when he shot Thomas after he found him “behaving erratically and walking in the intersection with his pants around his ankles,” the statement said.
“The brave men and women of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are called upon to make life-or-death decisions on a daily basis, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Gonzalez said. “We hold the community’s trust as sacred, and we will continue to support our deputies with clear policies and the valuable training they need to protect the lives of all our residents.”
An independent investigation by the Houston Police Department into the shooting is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said.
Brewer could not be reached for comment. But the Harris County Deputies’ Organization, which says it’s representing Brewer, said in a statement it disagreed with Gonzalez’s decision to fire the deputy.
“HCDO stands behind Deputy Brewer, who made a split-second decision,” the statement said.
Thomas killed by single gunshot
CNN previously reported that witnesses saw Thomas walking through the intersection with his pants down, hitting cars as they passed. Brewer, who was on patrol, came upon the scene and attempted to stop Thomas.
But when Thomas was confronted, he ignored Brewer’s commands to stop and walked towards the deputy, the HCSO statement said, prompting the deputy to fire a single gunshot that fatally wounded the 34-year-old.
At the time of the shooting, Thomas’ sister told CNN affiliate KPRC she didn’t believe the deputy needed to use lethal force against her brother.
“You clearly could have Tased him,” Markeeta Thomas said. “He wasn’t trying to shoot you. He wasn’t trying to do anything.”