Bob Hilliard and renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump – the team representing the family of Harris County Sheriff’s Office police shooting victim Danny Ray Thomas – announced the lawsuit at a press conference Thursday, April 12, in front of the Harris County Civil Court.
Late last month, Danny Ray Thomas was shot and killed by Harris County Deputy Cameron Brewer during an incident at a busy Houston intersection. The 35-year-old, who had a history of mental illness, was unarmed and walking in the intersection with his pants around his ankles when the deputy arrived and then shot Thomas. Cell phone footage captured by a bystander and dashcam footage shows that the deputy shot Thomas only seconds after arriving.
Hilliard, who recently argued against the U.S. border patrol’s deadly force policies at the U.S. Supreme Court, has partnered with Crump, who is also representing the family of Sacramento police shooting victim Stephon Clark.
Attorneys Bob Hilliard and Ben Crump issued this joint statement: “In Houston, Danny Ray Thomas — an unarmed black man who was clearly in mental distress — was shot and killed by a Harris County deputy sheriff moments after the deputy arrived at a busy intersection. Thomas was visibly unarmed, wobbling unsteadily, and had his pants around his ankles. Thomas was not a bad man; he was just a man who was suffering with mental illness. Rather than try to help, the deputy sheriff drew his weapon, demanded that Thomas get on the ground — and seconds later, fired at Thomas, killing him with a single fatal shot.
“Deputy Cameron Brewer’s actions violated Danny Ray Thomas’ constitutional rights and were an extreme, excessive, and unwarranted use of force. These actions were objectively unreasonable based on the circumstances, and we will do everything in our power to seek justice for his family.”