HOUSTON, Texas — A former Harris County Sheriff’s deputy is facing a new civil lawsuit years after a criminal jury found him not guilty to charges related to the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas in 2018.
"March 12th was the last day I hugged my dad," said now 18-year-old daughter Malikiya Thomas during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "The last day I was able to tell my dad I love him.”
She and her family said Thomas was trying to be a better father back then while simultaneously dealing with issues related to the loss of two other kids.
"My brother’s two children were murdered by his wife and he struggled with that," said sister Marketta Thomas-Smith. "On how to cope with it.”
Thomas was shot and killed on March 22, 2018, during an episode in Greenspoint that was caught on camera.
Video showed Thomas with his pants pulled down after allegedly striking passing cars while foaming at the mouth.
HCSO deputy Cameron Brewer fatally shot the unarmed Thomas after Brewer said he didn’t respond to a taser.
Brewer later said he feared for his life.
"But, yet, instead of the officer giving him a helping hand, he gave him a bullet," said well-known civil rights attorney Ben Crump who's part of the team representing the family. "And it killed him.”
Crump said a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Harris County against Brewer seeks monetary damages as a federal civil rights claim is appealed.
"Why is it that a black person having a mental health crisis can’t get the benefit of consideration?” said Crump.
The new civil suit comes three years after Brewer, who is also Black, was found not guilty in criminal court.
He was fired from his job following the shooting but never reinstated despite a recommendation to do so.
"Four years later, we’re still living with the case on our back," said Malikiya Thomas. "We’re still grieving.”
Attempts to reach Brewer for comment were unsuccessful.