Baytown officer's attorney says shooting was justified

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, May 17, 2019
Attorney of Baytown officer in Pamela Turner's death says shooting was justified
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"Mental health does not factor into deadly force decisions," said Greg Cagle.

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- The attorney for the Baytown officer who shot a woman to death after she used his Taser on him, according to police, maintains the shooting was justified.

On Thursday, Baytown police identified the officer who shot Pamela Turner as Juan Delacruz, an 11-year veteran with the department. Delacruz is on paid administrative leave.

His attorney, Greg Cagle, told ABC13 Eyewitness News, "If you disarm a police officer, you're going to get shot."

In an emotional news conference Thursday morning, Turner's family stood with pictures of the 44-year-old in better times.

"I still can't believe my mom isn't here," said her daughter, Chelsie Rubin.

"She wasn't a violent person. She wasn't a mean person. She was friends with everyone," Turner's sister Antoinette Dorsey-James said.

Turner was shot to death by Delacruz Monday night at the apartment complex on Garth Road where she lived. Her shooting and what led up to it was caught on cell phone video.

Police say the officer tried to arrest Turner for outstanding warrants for assault and criminal mischief. It escalated. She managed to get his Taser, they say, and shocked him. In return he used deadly force.

"This is America. This isn't a third world country where the police can execute innocent people," said Ben Crump, a national civil rights attorney representing Turner's family.

Turner was shot multiple times.

Cagle said, "If they are willing to take one weapon, they're willing to take the other."

"There was nothing justifiable to what he did to my sister," Turner's sister Tracy Frazier said. "Nothing at all."

Turner's family says she was diagnosed with schizophrenia 14 years ago. They say the police knew she was mentally ill and should have dealt with her differently from the beginning.

Harris County court records show as part of her most recent criminal case, a mental health assessment was requested.

"Mental health does not factor into deadly force decisions," Cagle said.

Baytown police have turned over the investigation to the Texas Rangers, in the interest of "transparency." Turner's family is conducting a private autopsy for their own investigation.

"Conspiracies are built off of unanswered questions," said Tony Leal, a retired chief of the Texas Rangers, now the president of PPI Security.

"Did somebody do something here that was illegal? Did somebody do something to violate somebody's rights? Is there a criminal act that happened here on the part of the police officer? That's it. That's what you're looking at," Leal explained.

Crump announced that the family will be hosting two funerals for Taylor. The first one will be held at Lilly Grove Baptist Church on May 23.

The second funeral will be held in the family's original home in Mississippi.


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