An Indian-origin former US police officer, who was accused of negligent homicide in the 2019 fatal shooting of a woman while aiming at her dog who charged at him, has been acquitted by a court in Texas.
Ravinder Singh was on trial after he shot and killed Maggie Brooks, 30, while responding to a welfare check.
The Tarrant Criminal District Attorney’s Office issued a statement on Monday after the jury’s verdict was read, saying that anytime the use of force results in the death of a civilian, they take the case to a grand jury and if the grand jury returns an indictment, they prosecute the case.
“A jury heard the facts related to the death of Brooks in 2019. They evaluated the testimony and evidence and determined that Ravinder Singh was not guilty,” the district attorney’s office said.
“By doing so, the jury fulfilled their duty in the criminal justice system, as did we,” it said.
Bodycam footage released by Arlington Police in August 2019 showed that soon after Singh performed a welfare check after police received a call about a woman passed out on the grass near a shopping center.
As he asks the woman if she is ok, a dog rushes toward him, and the officer fires shots. One of the bullets struck the woman, identified as Brooks, in her chest.
Brooks, who was a mother to three children, was hospitalised and later died. Her cause of death was ruled a homicide.
Singh resigned in November 2019 amid an administrative investigation and in September 2020 was indicted on a charge of criminally negligent homicide by a Tarrant County grand jury.
Brooks’ family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in July 2021 asking for at least USD 2 million in restitution.
Prior to closing arguments Friday afternoon, Singh informed the court that he did not plan to testify in his own defense. Had he been convicted, Singh faced a maximum of two years in state jail and a fine of up to USD 10,000.
After the verdict, Singh walked out of the courtroom with his lawyer and said that he wanted to thank his family and also gave his condolences to Brook’s family in Fort Worth.
Troy Brooks, father of Margaret Brooks and a long-time Arlington firefighter, reacted to the verdict in disagreement.
“Now there are three kids that have to see it on YouTube every day, their mother being killed senselessly, and nobody’s held responsible for it”.
“There’s no winner in this,” said Troy Brooks outside the courtroom. “That’s a young man in there. This changes the course of his life. We can’t get Maggie back,” he added.