HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - The family of Danny Ray Thomas, an unarmed Houston man who was killed by a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy in 2018, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer who shot him.
Thomas’ children, parents, and sister stood on the steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse to make the announcement Tuesday.
They're being represented by Attorney Ben Crump - who has been involved in numerous high-profile wrongful death cases, including the 2020 murder of George Floyd.
Crump has filed the lawsuit against Cameron Brewer, the 45-year-old deputy was found not guilty in connection to the shooting.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office fired the deputy a month after the March 2018 incident, but he was recommended to be reinstated in 2020 by the Civil Service Commission.
Video that shows 34-year-old Thomas walking down a street in the Greater Greenspoint area with his pants around his ankles seconds before being shot by the deputy created a public outcry for justice. Thomas' family says he was suffering from a mental health episode at the time of the shooting.
"Why is it that that Black people can't get the benefit of consideration?" asks Crump. "The benefit of professionalism? The benefit of most of humanity? Why do you shoot us and ask questions later?"
"My brother didn't ask to be shot down in broad daylight," says Thomas’ sister Marketta Thomas-Smith. "He was not a violent person. He was not trying to harm the officer. As a matter of fact, he couldn't even speak to let the officer know that he needed help."
Although Brewer was cleared of any wrongdoing, in this new lawsuit, Crump says the deputy, Cameron Brewer, was "grossly negligent" and violated Thomas' state constitutional rights.
"Even though, for reasons that are inexplicable to us, they (jury) said it wasn't clear beyond a reasonable doubt. Well, it's a different standard in civil court. It’s about reasonableness," says Crump.