HOUSTON — Next month marks two years since a Baytown woman was shot and killed during an altercation with a Baytown police officer.
Pamela Turner’s children filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Thursday against officer Juan De La Cruz, the City of Baytown and Cypress Point Equity Partners, who owned the apartment complex where the shooting took place.
In September 2020, De La Cruz was indicted by a grand jury on one count of aggravated assault by a public servant.
“I should be calling my mother and singing happy birthday this morning,” Chelsie Rubin, Turner’s daughter said.
On what would have been Turner’s 46th birthday, her family and people who demand justice in her shooting death, gathered outside the Harris County Courthouse.
“We’re hurting and we’re spending so much time trying to fight for her recognition that we haven’t had a chance to grieve,” Rubin said.
In the federal civil rights lawsuit Turner’s family claim De La Cruz and the managers of the Brixton apartments harassed Turner because of her mental illness while she lived there.
Attorney Ben Crump said De La Cruz used low level warrants to go after Turner before the shooting.
“He could have called for backup,” Crump said. “He could have set up a barrier. He could have gave verbal commands which he did none of that.”
Investigators said during a confrontation Turner grabbed De La Cruz’s taser and used it against him.
In cellphone video that captured the altercation, De La Cruz is seen firing five shot.
Turner was hit three times.
“Each bullet fired has to be independently justified under the law and there’s absolutely no reason for the number of rounds that were fired,” Attorney Devon Jacob said.
Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, traveled to Houston to attend the news conference in support of the family. Palmer got emotional saying it’s hard to bury a child but it’s just as hard for Turner’s children to have buried their mother.
Taylor died in March 2020 when she was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in her Louisville, Ky. apartment.
Both cases are entwined with the deaths of George Floyd and many other Black Americans at the hands of police officers.
Turner’s family promises to keep on fighting until justice is served.
We reached out to the Baytown Police Department who stated they don’t comment on pending litigation.