A Houston police officer has been cleared by a grand jury in the death of an unarmed black man.
Jordan Baker, 26, was fatally shot by officer Juventino Castro in January. Castro, a 10 year veteran on the force at the time of the shooting, was in uniform the night of the shooting while he worked security at a local strip mall.
The officer reportedly attempted to stop Baker, who was riding his bike through the parking lot, but a struggle and chase ensued. According to the officer’s account of the events, Baker stopped running, reached into his waistband and charged the officer. Castro fired his gun once, striking and killing Baker. Castro told ABC13 at the time that he thought Baker fit the description of a robbery suspect who had targeted the mall.
Baker’s mother, Janet Baker, believes her son was profiled as a criminal. Baker was wearing a black hoodie at the time of the incident.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement:
I want to express my deepest sympathies to Janet Baker and the entire Baker family. I know they are disappointed, but the grand jury’s decision means they found that there was no probable cause to believe a crime was committed. It does not constitute an endorsement of the officer’s actions.
The decision not to indict officer Castro on charges is the latest grand jury decision to make national headlines, following grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island.
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was cleared in November by a Missouri grand jury for the shooting death of Michael Brown, and a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was videotaped killing Eric Garner with a chokehold.