Ben Crump calls for justice after Pamela Turner killed by officer

Pamela Turner, 44, was shot and killed by a police officer who also lived at her apartment complex while laying on her back.

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It’s been more than two years since Pamela Turner was shot to death by a police officer. Her family continues to seek unfulfilled justice, and their attorney is on the case.

On May 13, 2019, Baytown Police officer Juan Delacruz attempted to arrest Turner, 44, who he believed had outstanding warrants, at their apartment complex. Turner, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2005, allegedly resisted, prompting Delacruz to use his taser on her. While on the ground, Turner reached for De La Cruz’s taser, which the officer said made him fear for his life. It prompted him to shoot her multiple times, killing her while she was already on her back.

Part of the exchange was caught on video.

Pamela Turner
Pamela Turner (Credit: Ben Crump/Turner Family)

A grand jury determined that Delacruz was never in real danger from Turner grabbing his taser, as a cartridge would have needed to be reloaded in order for Turner to cause him any harm with it. Delacruz was indicted by a grand jury on one charge of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony that could land him five years to life in prison. However, Delacruz remains employed with the police department on paid administrative leave.

Turner family attorney, Ben Crump, believes Delacruz’s consequences don’t suffice.

Crump, who also represents the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, tweeted a link to a petition on Monday demanding justice for Turner. As of press time, the page has more than 7,800 signatures toward its 10,000-signature goal.

Juan Delacruz
Juan Delacruz in a Sept. 15, 2020 mugshot (Credit: Harris County District Attorney Office)

In April, Turner’s family filed suit against Delacruz, the City of Baytown, and the apartment complex owners Cypress Point Equity Partners. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, traveled to Houston to attend the news conference. Another rally in Baytown the following month was organized to urge Baytown police to fire Delacruz outright.

“Two years ago, Pam Turner was disrespected in a way that no human being should be disrespected,” Crump said during that rally. “Malcolm X said that the most disrespected and most unprotected and the most neglected person in America is the Black woman. Well, today we declare we will not let them disrespect Pam Turner. We will not let them neglect Pam Turner. We will not let them sweep Pam Turner’s life under the rug.”

Turner’s case precedes those of Floyd and Taylor, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such did not receive as much global awareness despite the video footage. Turner’s family hopes that the attention received from the deaths of Floyd and Taylor, and the subsequent conviction of Floyd’s murderer Derek Chauvin, will help bring awareness to Turner’s case.

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