A homeless man who was left paralyzed after a group of plain clothes federal officers shot him 11 times as they tried to arrest him and his family for overstaying on public land is suing officials for $50 million.
Details of the incident
The shooting, which occurred in May 2023, was recorded on one of the officer’s body cameras in Payette National Forest, 50 miles from the Oregon border.
The clip shows officers arresting Brooks Roberts’ brother, Timber, and holding him close to the disused school bus where the brothers lived with their mother, Judy, in the Idaho wilderness.
Timber, 35, calls out for help and just seconds later, Brooks, 39, appears on the screen, in a wheelchair and holding his arm out towards the officers.
The footage then moves as officers duck for cover.
From there, 11 shots can be heard, all from guns of the federal agents.
The shooting makes him paralyzed now
In the aftermath, Brooks can be heard apologizing and telling the officers that he did not know they were cops. His lawyers say that one of those bullets is now lodged in his spine permanently.
The officers do not identify themselves to Brooks. The shooting saw him hospitalized for five months. He was released in September.
He is now paralyzed from the waist down and uses diapers.
The shooting part of an elaborate sting operation which saw two of the officers approach Timber and say that they needed help with their RV.
‘I thought they were carjackers’
When he came to help, they attempted to arrest him.
‘I thought he was being carjacked and that they either could have stabbed or shot him. I thought they were carjackers,’ Brooks told local news station KTVB7.
In the shocking footage, Brooks can be heard telling the officers: ‘I’m sorry, I thought my brother was being attacked. I didn’t know you guys were cops.’
Brooks was permitted to be armed under Idaho’s open carry laws. At the time of his arrest, Timber was wanted on disorderly conduct charges.
In an interview with the Idaho Statesman, the family’s lawyer said that they had been forced to live off the grid in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Federal police officers planned in secret to arrest this homeless family on minor misdemeanor offenses by preying on their good graces.
‘Officers knew that the family would help two people that they thought were stranded motorists,’ family attorney Craig Durham told The Intercept in September.