North Carolina judge rules against media and sheriff requests to make body camera video public.
Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump joined the family of Pamela Turner, a Black woman killed by a Texas police officer in 2019 at a rally on Thursday, calling for justice in her killing on the second anniversary of her death.
Turner, 44, was killed in May 2019 in the parking lot of her apartment complex after a confrontation with Baytown police officer Juan Delacruz, who also lived at the complex. Delacruz shot Turner after the two struggled over his stun gun.
Turner’s family has said she was suffering a mental health crisis at the time of the shooting. Turner was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2005. A bystander captured the confrontation on video.
“Today we declare, we will not let them disrespect Pam Turner,” Crump said at the rally, held outside the complex where Turner died.
— David Gonzalez (@DavidGonzKHOU) May 13, 2021
Delacruz, who faces a charge of aggravated assault by a public servant over Turner’s death, is still employed by the Baytown Police Department. Dozens of people attended the rally, chanting “Fire Delacruz!”
Crump said Delacruz is “still employed by the Baytown Police Department, completely disrespecting Pam Turner”.
Delacruz’s lawyer Greg Cagle has claimed Delacruz was acting in self-defence and according to his training.
Crump and Turner’s family announced a federal lawsuit against Delacruz, the city of Baytown and the apartment complex in April.
That month, a jury found former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional murder and manslaughter in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd.
Crump represented Floyd’s family in a civil suit against the MPD, securing a record $27m settlement.
The settlement and guilty verdict have given hope to police reform activists that change is coming.
Speaking at the rally, Crump said the movement for justice for Turner was being led by “Black queens”.
Today marks 2 years since Pamela Turner was killed by Baytown Police. pic.twitter.com/srTCfJDvJ8
— Erica Simon (@EricaOnABC13) May 13, 2021
He was joined by activist Tamika Mallory, Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker who was shot five times by white Louisville, Kentucky, officers in March 2020 as they served a no-knock warrant, and Monique Pressley, a Black lawyer.
“As terrible as what happened to Pam Turner right back there across the street was, you know, she’s not the first Black woman to die at the hands of police. We don’t even really know the number of how many Black women have died at the hands of law enforcement, because they don’t even bother to count”, Pressley told the rally.
Activists have already achieved some reforms. After Turner was killed, Baytown created a citizens advisory committee following criticism over several police incidents.
In September, a grand jury indicted an ex-Baytown police officer who was accused of kicking a man while another person recorded a video of their traffic stop.