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US Texas police officer indicted in shooting death of woman struck when he fired shots at an unrestrained dog

02:11  19 september  2020
02:11  19 september  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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A grand jury indicted a former police officer in this week over the shooting death of a woman who was struck by his gunfire while he attempted to shoot an approaching dog.

a close up of a woman: Margarita Brooks, 30, was shot and killed by former Arlington Police Officer Ravinder Singh on August 1, 2019 when he fired three rounds at an unleashed dog while responding to a report of an unconscious woman. © Courtesy Attorney Lee Merritt Margarita Brooks, 30, was shot and killed by former Arlington Police Officer Ravinder Singh on August 1, 2019 when he fired three rounds at an unleashed dog while responding to a report of an unconscious woman.

The Tarrant County grand jury indicted former Arlington, Texas, police officer Ravinder Singh on Wednesday on a charge of criminally negligent homicide for the shooting death of Margarita Brooks in August of 2019, according to a press release from the Criminal District Attorney's Office for Tarrant County.

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The fatal shooting occurred on August 1, 2019, when Singh responded to a call for an unconscious woman, later identified as Margarita Brooks, and an off-leash dog approached him, according to previously issued press releases from Arlington Police.

He fired three shots at the dog and struck Brooks, body worn camera shows. In a press release issued on the same day as the shooting, Arlington Police said that the woman was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced deceased.

CNN reached out to an attorney for Singh requesting comment on the indictment but did not immediately hear back.

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Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony, the DA's release said. If convicted, Singh could face 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

In November of 2019, Singh resigned from the Arlington Police Department, a press release from the department said.

The resignation ended the administrative investigation into his conduct in the shooting, according to the release.

Breakdown of the body-worn video

About six minutes into the video Singh calls out "ma'am" and "hello" to Brooks, who is on the ground in the distance. He then asks her if she's OK.

"Is that your dog? Can you get, get back!" he yells.

A dog starts to run at him, and he fires off three shots, sending the dog running away.

Brooks is heard on the video yelling, "What the f***? Oh my god! He shot me."

Singh radios in three shots fired and runs toward the woman.

As Brooks lays on the ground, Singh says "ma'am, get a hold of your dog," but she does not respond, and the dog is not visible in the video.

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Singh then runs towards the woman, who is seen on video laying on the ground with blood on her dress.

What the family says

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the family of Margarita Brooks, told CNN over the phone Friday that the family was relieved that the charges had been brought but disappointed in the actual charge.

"We were disappointed about the charges themselves. They moved forward on negligent criminal homicide," Merritt said. "We were both surprised and relieved to see charges going forward at all. It's been well past the normal time, well over a year since the incident happened. It caught us off guard, but it was a welcome relief."

Merritt attributed the bringing of charges to a new leaf being turned over in criminal justice following a summer of protests calling for justice and an end to police brutality.

"This is the result of a changing of the tides that's been occurring since the summer of protests," Merritt said. "It is a welcome leap to see charges come forward out of Tarrant county."

The attorney added that despite the charges, the family is still "really, really distraught."

Brooks was the daughter of an Arlington firefighter in his 60's, Merritt said.

Now, Brooks' father is raising his two grandchildren. "He still has to continue to go to work and it's been really hard on him," Merritt said.

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