On Tuesday (October 11), Baytown police officer Juan Delacruz avoided decades in prison after a jury handed down a not-guilty verdict for the May 13, 2019 shooting death of Pamela Turner, Fox 26 reports. Turner’s family and their attorney, Ben Crump, denounced the jury’s decision.
“There are no words. I mean he ripped my heart out May 13 and then the judge come here and ripped it out again,” Turner’s sister Antoinette Dorsey-James said.
“They keep coming up with all these intellectual justifications for police killing black women in America and never being held accountable,” Crump added.
Delacruz fatally shot Turner at the apartment complex where they both lived while attempting to arrest her for outstanding warrants. Before the shooting, Delacruz tased Turner, but in response, she took the Taser and used it on him, according to the officer.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the not-guilty verdict likely stemmed from evidence that was barred from the trial. Jurors weren’t allowed to hear how Delacruz knew Turner and was aware she had mental health issues.
“They could only base it on the evidence that the judge allowed into the trial. Disallowed was the past relationship. The mental health of the victim. The fact that Baytown had their own mental health squad, and that this officer disregarded his own general orders,” Ogg said.
“The judge did not allow the fact that they had a relationship, as far as him harassing her. He didn’t allow the fact that this man violated policy and procedure. He didn’t allow the fact that I filed a police report against him when my sister was still alive. He did not allow any facts or any evidence that supported her,” Turner’s sister added.
The jury deliberated for nearly eight hours before reaching the decision Tuesday afternoon, per Fox 26.
“I want to tell this family how sorry we really are for them because Pam deserved a better ending,” Ogg said.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.