After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, the Associated Press reported that noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump plans to draw national attention to the 2019 death of Pamela Turner, a black Texas woman who who was killed by a Baytown police officer.
“If you were outraged when you saw the video of George Floyd being killed by the police, you should be equally outraged when you see the video of you killing Pam Turner, an unarmed black woman who was on the Put his back and shot in the face, chest and stomach, “said Crump on Tuesday, according to the AP.
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Turner’s death was partially videotaped by a viewer. Crump represents Turner’s family in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year against officer Juan Delacruz, the City of Baytown, and the managers of the apartment complex where the shooting took place. The trial is slated to begin on May 25, exactly one year after Floyd’s murder.
According to a 2019 KHOU video, Baytown Lt. Steve Dorris, Delacruz confronted 44-year-old Turner in the parking lot of an apartment complex where they both lived. Delacruz cursed Turner and the two started arguing, Dorris said. The Baytown Police Department claims Turner confiscated the taser and tried to use it on Delacruz, who then shot her five times.
According to the police, Delacruz did not respond to a police call, but was patrolling the apartment complex when he discovered Turner, for whom he had pending arrest warrants from “previous deals” according to the police.
The New York Times reported that Dorris could not confirm whether Turner actually berated Delacruz, and her family lawyers claim Turner could not have manually reloaded the taser for use in the argument.
“Our officer was verbally abused and you need to understand what a taser is. It’s a weapon designed to incapacitate people. The question is, “Was the officer afraid for his life?” I think a logical person would say yes, ”Dorris told Click2Houston.
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A grand jury sued Delacruz in September 2020, more than a year after the shooting, for a serious assault on an official, according to the Associated Press. Harris County’s district attorney Kim Ogg said at the time that her office would move forward with law enforcement.
Delacruz lawyers have alleged the shooting was self-defense.
Turner’s family claim that the woman diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia was suffering from a mental crisis at the time.
Hoping Chauvin’s conviction would set a precedent for other police shootings, Crump said he would hold a march for justice for black women, including Turner and Breonna Taylor, a paramedic who was shot dead by Louisville police officers last March . Her mother, Tamika Palmer, joined Turner’s family at the press conference and announced her lawsuit earlier this year.
Chelsea Rubin, Turner’s daughter, told The 19th she hoped the lawsuit would close her family over her mother’s death.
“It has been two years since my mother died,” she said. “I’m not trying to wait anymore.”
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