Henri Brooks appears in court following assault arrest

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. – Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks appeared in court Friday over a reported argument that turned into assault.

A cellphone captured the aftermath of the incident, but Brooks’ attorney says there is more to the video.

“The tapes are only a piece of the puzzle. You can determine some of those things are in favor of Ms. Brooks,” said attorney Andre Wharton.

Despite facing misdemeanor charges of assault, Brooks and her lawyers say she is the victim.

“Commissioner Brooks, do you feel like what happened was fair?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston to Commissioner Brooks, who did not respond.

The Shelby County commissioner wouldn’t answer any of our questions as we followed her outside 201 Poplar Friday, where she remained silent before the judge.

“Don’t confuse her silence, she has a right to remain silent,” said Wharton.

Brooks appeared before a judge Friday with her lawyer, Wharton. She’s facing assault charges after an argument over a parking spot outside Methodist Central Hospital where Brooks is a Corporate Community Government Researcher and Specialist.

“I don’t see it, I don’t see where a crime was committed,” said Wharton.

Cellphone video WREG obtained from a witness only shows the aftermath of the argument. The video shows the other woman involved explaining what happened.

“She assaulted me. She poured water all over me,” said Liese Nichols.

The woman told police Brooks also shouted racial slurs at her.

“Commissioner Brooks keeps popping up in the news for situations involving racial undertones. Did she say anything to you about that specifically?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.

“I only know what you all report. I can’t divulge client communications, but context is so important,” replied Wharton.

In the tape, the only encounter between the two is when Nichols, the woman pressing charges against Brooks, walks over to the county commissioner’s truck. Nichols was told to leave by a security guard taking a report.

Those reports will be scrutinized in court, along with testimony.

For now, Brooks, who is usually outspoken, isn’t saying anything about this argument that turned violent.

“She wants to talk, I’m sure. Commissioner Brooks is an outspoken person. She has a story to tell, but we are playing it out in the justice system,” said Wharton.

The judge in this case recused himself Friday morning because the Shelby County commission handles the General Sessions Court budget.

The courts will have to appoint another judge. A special prosecutor has already been appointed to handle the case.