A nationally-known attorney is now representing the family of a man shot and killed by a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy.

The family of Danny Ray Thomas, their supporters, and attorneys announced a new lawsuit against the county at a news conference on Thursday.

Ben Crump, who represents the families of other men who have died in police-involved shootings across the country, has joined the case.

“With the filing of this lawsuit, we declare that just because you have a mental ill crisis, does not mean you should encounter the death penalty executed by a police officer on a street corner,” said Crump.

Thomas was shot and killed last month during a confrontation with Deputy Cameron Brewer at the intersection of Greens and Imperial Valley Roads.

Much of the incident was caught on video.

Thomas, who was unarmed, had his pants around his ankles and walked toward the deputy despite warnings to stop.

“(Brewer) thought he saw something in (Thomas’) hand. What it was exactly, we’re not sure yet,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “But the male kept advancing toward the deputy.”

Deputy Brewer fired one shot and killed Thomas, according to Gonzalez. Witnesses said Thomas had been causing a disturbance in the area.

His family says he had been dealing with serious mental health issues following the 2016 deaths of two children at the hands of their mother.

“The color of one’s skin and the state of one’s mental health should not be compounding factors as to whether or not one lives or dies when you have an interaction with law enforcement,” Crump said on Thursday.

Thomas’ sister broke down recalling what he meant to her.

“My life will never be the same,” said Marketta Thomas. “I lost my best friend.”

After the shooting, the county said it would review policies regarding the use of non-lethal force.

“Police cars say ‘to serve and protect,’” said grandmother Willie Mae Thomas. “Seems like to me they served, they did not protect.”

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office would not comment on pending litigation. But Gonzalez previously stated a quick resolution to this case is something the Thomas family, and all involved, deserve.

He added in the days after the shooting that department policy generally calls for non-lethal measures to be used in cases like this before deadly force.

The case remains under investigation by multiple departments including the sheriff’s office and HPD.

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