FORT WORTH (CN) — Relatives of a homeless woman sued a former Texas cop Thursday who was caught on body camera shooting at a dog during a welfare check and killing her instead.
The family of Margarita Brooks, 30, sued the city of Arlington and former police officer Ravi Singh, 28, over the Aug. 1, 2019 killing. In a one-minute long video released by Arlington police that has since gone viral, Singh is shown walking down an alley during daylight and approaching Brooks who is lying on the grass.
Singh is heard asking Brooks if she is all right and if the nearby dog is hers. Singh suddenly backpedals as the dog approaches, yells “get back” and quickly fires three shots from his gun. Brooks then immediately screams “what the fuck” as she is shot.
“Oh my God,” Brooks screamed. “The police shot me.”
The plaintiffs say Singh — a rookie officer at the time — was responding to a call of a female lying unconscious in the grass near a shopping center.
“Officer Singh knew that he was firing his weapon in precisely the direction where Ms. Brooks was peacefully lying in the grass,” the seven-page complaint states. “Officer Singh struck Ms. Brooks in the chest causing pain, agony and death.”
The dog was grazed by a bullet.
Singh resigned three months after Brook’s death. A Tarrant County grand jury indicted him with criminally negligent homicide ten months ago. Singh is currently awaiting trial — he faces up to two years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
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.
Arlington City Attorney Teris Solis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit Thursday evening.
The plaintiffs seeks over $1 million in actual and punitive damages for wrongful death and for violations of Brook’s 14th Amendment rights.
The family is represented by John J. Coyle and Mark V. Maguire with McEldrew Young in Philadephia. They are also represented by civil rights attorney Lee Merritt in Forney, who is currently campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Texas Attorney General.
The plaintiffs said after Singh’s indictment that they hope police will “not be so quick to use their deadly weapon” in situations that do not call for deadly force.
“Our hope is not only that this officer is held responsible for Maggie’s death, but that the Arlington Police Department is also held accountable for its lack of training and procedures in responding to welfare checks,” the family said in a statement.Follow @davejourno
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