Appellate Judges

Qualified Immunity: Hooks v. Brewer, No. 18-10628 (11th Cir. June 19, 2020)

The Supreme Court held that a warrant fails to provide probable cause if it includes a “deliberate falsity or . . . reckless disregard” for the truth.

David Hooks’ family investigating his death

David Hooks died after the raid at his home off Highway 319 on Wednesday, Sept. 24. Lawyer says search warrant is invalid

OCT 2, 2014 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: FEB 11, 2021

“Teresa can pursue punitive damages against Brewer. Such damages are available in a § 1983 case “when the defendant’s conduct is shown to be motivated by evil motive or intent or when it involves reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others.” Smith v. Wade, 461 U.S. 30, 55 (1983). Hooks may attempt to prove this at trial.”

Hooks v. Brewer, No. 18-10628, at *17 (11th Cir. June 19, 2020)

David Hooks’ Lawyer says he wants the public to know the truth of of the death of his client.

He says the statement released by law enforcement last week, stating that Hooks was shot and killed by deputies during a drug search, is in stark contrast with the truth.

The search warrant says Laurens County deputies were looking for methamphetamine when they raided David Hooks’ home.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s office says Hooks was shot after he got out a firearm and started showing aggression. The G.B.I also conducted a search of the property.

“That search of some 44 hours conducted by numerous agents of the G.B.I resulted in not one item of contraband being found. He was not a drug user or a drug dealer” said Mitchell Shook.

A magistrate judge signed the search warrant just before 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, and deputies raided Hooks’ home about an hour later. Hooks died after the raid at his home off Highway 319 on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

13WMAZ obtained the search warrant that led to the raid. It says the night before that raid, a man claimed he found 20 grams of suspected methamphetamine inside a pickup at Hooks’ home.

Rodney Garrett reportedly told investigators that he took a plastic bag from the pickup, believing that there was money inside,and a set of digital scales.

Then he stole another vehicle from Hooks’ home, a Lincoln Aviator SUV, the warrant says. After he drove the SUV to Dublin, Garrett said, he realized that the bag contained meth instead of cash.

Garrett told officers that he “became scared for his safety,” and turned himself in to Laurens deputies, the warrant says.

Shook says that shouldn’t be enough probable cause for the sheriff’s office to issue a warrant.

“The drug task force and the Laurens County Sheriff’s response team arrived at David and Teresa Hooks home unannounced by emergency lights or sirens” said Shook

He says Teresa Hooks, David’s wife, looked outside and saw people with hoods during the evening of the drug search. He says she woke her husband up, thinking the burglars were back. He says Hooks then armed himself.

Shook says there was no knock and announce, unlike what the initial release from the Sheriff’s office stated.

“The task force and the SRT members broke down the back door of the family’s home and entered, firing an excessive sixteen shots. There is no evidence that David Hooks ever fired a weapon” said Shook.

The Hooks family is urging Sheriff Bill Harrell to immediately suspend all individuals who participated in the raid until the G.B.I has completed their work and turned over their reports to the District Attorney.

As for Rodney Garrett, he is now charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and other charges, according to the warrant.

In the warrant application, Laurens investigator Chris Brewer wrote that he knew Hooks and his home address from a previous investigation. Brewer said a suspect claimed he had been supplying “multiple ounces” of methamphetamine to Hooks, who re-sold it.

Shook says that investigation was done in 2009. Neither Shook or the Sheriff’s department stated the outcome of that investigation.

Lauren’s County Sheriff’s department says they are not making any more statements on this case. They are directing all questions to the GBI. They’ve not responded.

Neither agencies has identified the deputies involved in the raid, said how many of them fired shots, or said how many times Hooks was hit.

Hooks was buried on Tuesday.

Shook released this statement on Wednesday:

October 1, 2014


We buried a great man yesterday. Our loss is devastating to our family and to our community. David was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather who was a role model to his children, grandchildren, and numerous other friends and relatives.

We respect the Georgia Bureau of Investigations continuing their investigation into this tragic death. At the same time, we continue our own investigation. Our investigation is ongoing and we cannot divulge much at this time. We expect it to be a couple of months before the GBI’s investigation is complete. However, we want the public to know the true facts of this tragedy are in stark contrast to the media reports released by law enforcement at this time.

First, David Hooks was a successful businessman who owned two thriving businesses. His construction company worked on military bases, including Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart. As such, he was vetted and underwent background checks by state and federal authorities including the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Based on those background checks, he was granted a security clearance which allowed him to work on these military bases. He was not a drug user or distributor. Second after taking over the scene at around 11:55 p.m. on the 24th of September the GBI conducted a thorough search of the property that lasted until approximately 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 26th. That search of some 44 hours conducted by numerous agents with the GBI resulted in not one item of contraband being found! This has been confirmed to the family by the GBI and is evidenced by the return of the original search warrant which was finally filed in court on September 29th and indicates that nothing was seized pursuant to the search warrant.

At this point here is what the evidence shows and we must stress that we are very early in the investigation. On Monday, September 22nd or the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 23rd, David and Teresa Hooks home was burglarized and several items were taken from the property including a Lincoln Aviator vehicle. The burglary was committed by Rodney Garrett a meth addict. David Hooks reported the burglary and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation into the same. After a brief investigation by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department, a warrant was issued for Garrett’s arrest at 3:45 p.m. on September 23rd. Approximately 24 hours later at 3:45 p.m., Rodney Garrett was taken into custody and confessed to the burglary and theft of motor vehicle, as well as other offenses.

On Wednesday, September 24th at 9:56 p.m., drug task force agent Chris Brewer made application for a search warrant before Faith Snell a non-attorney Deputy Magistrate of the Laurens County Magistrate Court. The facts submitted to Deputy Magistrate Snell to convince her that probable cause existed to issue the warrant consisted of the statement by Rodney Garrett a confessed burglar, thief, and a meth addict who was under the influence at the time of his arrest that the approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and 2 firearms found on him at the time of arrest had been stolen by him out of another vehicle at the Hooks home. Investigator Brewer also stated information he claimed came from an investigation involving Jeff Frazier. That investigation was in August 2009 over 5 years ago. A search warrant was issued at 9:56 p.m. by Judge Snell. This search warrant is invalid on its face as it does not comport with the requirements of the Constitution of State of Georgia nor the United States Constitution. Armed with an invalid search warrant and with less than an hour of preparation, at approximately 10:55 p.m. several members of the Drug Task Force and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Response Team arrived at David and Teresa Hooks home unannounced by emergency lights or sirens. There is no question the Officers were aware the home had been burglarized only two nights earlier.

David and Teresa were under the impression that the burglars were back and that a home invasion was eminent. David armed himself to protect his wife and his home. Despite the fact that the illegal search warrant did not have a “no knock” clause the Drug Task Force and SRT members broke down the back door of the family’s home and entered firing in excess of 16 shots. These shots were from multiple firearms and from both 40 caliber handguns and assault rifles. Several shots were fired through a blind wall at David with the shooters not knowing who or what was on the other side of the wall. The trajectory of the shots, coupled with the number of shots infers a clear intent on behalf of the shooters to kill David Hooks.

David was hit multiple times and ultimately died from the gunshot wounds he suffered. There is no evidence whatsoever that David Hooks fired a weapon. I must repeat this happened inside his home. There are other aspects to this case that we are continuing to investigate and search for answers. The family calls upon the District Attorney’s office to do its own investigation after receiving the GBI’s report regarding this matter and take whatever action the law and justice demands. The family calls on Sheriff W.A. “Bill” Harrell to immediately suspend all the individuals who participated in this tragedy from their law enforcement duties. Said individuals should remain on suspension until such time when the Georgia Bureau of Investigations has completed its investigation in this case, turned its report over to the District Attorney’s office, and the District Attorney’s office has taken whatever action it deems necessary in the interest of justice.

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Qualified Immunity: Hooks v. Brewer, No. 18-10628 (11th Cir. June 19, 2020)
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