News Roundup: Video Released, Harris County Deputy ID’d In Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 27, 2018 1:29 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Dash cam video from last week’s fatal shooting in Houston involving a Harris County Deputy was released Monday.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office also identified the deputy who shot and killed an unarmed, partially unclothed black man. That officer’s name is as Cameron Brewer.

Houston Public Media’s David Land reports that in a statement, the sheriff’s office said it’s reviewing policies and training on the use of non-lethal force especially with suspects who are having a mental health episode.

Officials said Harris County Deputy Cameron Brewer was on patrol when he saw a fight break out between a driver and a man in the street.

That’s when Brewer ordered one of the men, Danny Ray Thomas to get on the ground.

Officials said Thomas did not comply with the order and walked toward the officer.

Brewer, who was also equipped with a taser, fired one-shot killing Thomas.

Thomas’s pants were around his ankles at the time of the shooting. His family said Thomas was mentally unwell.

The recently released dash dam video does not show images of the shooting.

The sheriff’s office said Deputy Brewer was issued a body camera ‘hours’ before the incident but it was charging in his patrol car.

Yesterday, The U.S. Department of Education announced it had approved Texas’ plan to improve academic performance in schools, K through 12.

From KUT News in Austin, DaLyah Jones reports that under Texas’ newly approved plan, the state will use higher standards for academic success and post-secondary preparedness.

The plan also includes a new method to rate and evaluate districts and schools. The scale will range from A to F and will grade student progress, student achievement and closing gaps between different groups of students.

The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed by Congress in 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. The new law gives states more wiggle room to set goals to improve low-performing schools. Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath says the state’s plans are to reinforce public education outcomes, while strengthening Texas’ economic future.

Texas lawmakers have begun looking at the state’s method for determining if a death row inmate is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.

The examination comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state’s standards unconstitutional last year.

The Texas House’s Criminal Jurisprudence Committee started gathering testimony at a hearing Monday. There, Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Elsa Alcala testified that lawmakers should codify how death row inmates are evaluated for execution, noting that currently, it’s up to judges or juries to decide.

“It’s all this willy-nilly approach to how to do something,” Alcala said. “So what’s a death penalty case in San Antonio may not be a death penalty case in Harris County.”

Last year and 2016 are tied for having lowest number of executions in Texas at seven apiece.

Texas is planning to put to death Rosendo Rodriguez tonight for killing 29-year-old Summer Baldwin in Lubbock in 2005.  Rodriguez will be the fourth inmate executed this year in the state.