Wednesday, December 7, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Texas jury acquits former cop who killed woman during welfare check as her dog charged at him

Ravi Singh, 29, faced up to two years in state prison for criminally negligent homicide for killing Margarita Brooks in 2019.

FORT WORTH (CN) — A Texas jury acquitted former cop Ravi Singh Monday for killing a woman during a welfare check when he opened fire on her charging dog.

Singh, 29, was a rookie cop with the Arlington Police Department in 2019 when he shot and killed Margarita “Maggie” Brooks, 30, on Aug. 1, 2019. He was responding to reports of someone lying on the grass near North Collins Street.

Singh resigned three months after Brooks’ killing and was charged with criminally negligent homicide. Singh faced up to two years in state prison and a fine of $10,000.

During the week-long trial, jurors viewed viral bodycam footage that showed Singh walking down an alley during daylight and asks a seated Brooks if she is all right.

An unleashed dog begins running at Singh, who steps backward and unholsters his gun while Brooks is heard calling out “down” at the dog. Singh fires three times at the dog and Brooks is immediately heard screaming “what the fuck.”

“Oh my God,” Brooks screamed. “The police shot me.”

She later died from a gunshot wound to the upper torso, while her dog was grazed by a bullet. Brooks was the mother of three children.

Investigating detectives in the case and use-of-force experts testified for the prosecution, telling the jury that Singh’s quick decision to use deadly force was unreasonable and unnecessary. Arlington detective Mac Simmons said he would not have fired with a person so close nearby.

“I would probably kick it,” he testified on Aug. 25. “I would rather take a bite than be in that situation.”

Singh did not testify in his own defense. Jurors heard testimony about Singh’s written statement submitted one week after he killed Brooks, where he said his pepper spray, Taser and baton would not have been feasible options. Singh fired to the left of the alley, away from Brooks on the right, according to his statement. The prosecution and defense both said Brooks was killed by a bullet fired to the left that ricocheted.

The defense’s forensic consultant, Ron Marinelli, told jurors that deadly force was Singh’s only viable choice under the circumstances.

Singh’s team emphasized how Singh was “terrified” of the situation he found himself in, describing how being a cop was his dream job after serving as a Marine and jailer.

Under Texas criminal law, criminally negligent homicide is the least serious charge of the state’s four criminal homicide offenses — the other three being manslaughter, murder and capital murder.

Brooks’ family have since sued Singh and the city of Arlington for over $1 million in actual and punitive damages for wrongful death and for violations of her 14th Amendment rights.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.