Black Woman Killed by Texas Police Officer During Altercation
|thenorthstar||May 17, 2019|
The violent death of a Texas woman played out on social media as video of a Baytown Police officer fatally shooting her after she resisted arrest went viral on Snapchat and Facebook.
Baytown Police said that an officer, described as an 11-year veteran with the department, was patrolling an apartment complex in the 1600 block of Garth Road in Baytown, Texas, at around 10:40 p.m. on May 13. Baytown city, with a population of about 72,000, sits just east of Houston.
During his patrol, the unidentified officer encountered Pamela Shantay Turner, 44, who police said was known to the officer and had outstanding warrants, according to CNN. Baytown Police Lieutenant Steve Dorris said in a statement that the officer attempted to arrest Turner and a struggle ensued, prompting the officer to use his Taser.
Dorris told reporters that as the officer attempted to handcuff Turner, she was able to gain control of his Taser and use it on him. This led the officer to use his duty weapon and fire multiple times at Turner.
The dramatic incident was caught on video and shared on social media. In a Snapchat video of the fatal shooting, Turner told the officer, “I’m walking. I’m actually walking to my house.” Turner broke free from the officer’s grasp and moved toward the apartment complex.
“You’re actually harassing me,” Turner said. The video is dark, but the sound of a Taser can be heard in the background. Turner and the officer struggled, and she appeared to fall to the ground. She yelled at the officer that she was pregnant, and the Taser was heard again. The officer moved away from Turner and rapidly shot at her five times. Dorris told reporters that Turner was hit by at least one bullet. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities are now asking the person who filmed the fatal shooting to come forward to help with the investigation.
Police said that the medical examiner’s office in Harris County later confirmed that Turner was not pregnant. Turner has two children in their 20s and three grandchildren, her sister Antoinette Turner told KPRC. Antoinette said that Turner had previously complained that the officer, who was her neighbor, was harassing her.
Turner was on medication for schizophrenia, her sister claimed. Court records cited by KPRC revealed Turner had three outstanding warrants. Two warrants were for criminal mischief, and a third was for assault resulting in bodily injury. The officer involved was wearing a body camera during the shooting, but authorities are not releasing the footage due to the ongoing investigation. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is assisting with the investigation, Baytown Police said in its statement. The District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment.
Per standard protocol, the unidentified officer was placed on paid administrative leave. Dorris said that paid administrative leave is “not a vacation. They need time to cope with that and wrap their brains around what transpired,” according to The Washington Post.
“Out of respect for the officer and his family, we’re not releasing his name,” Dorris told KHOU. Dorris said the police department would not release the officer’s name for a few days. The Baytown Police spokesman could not be reached for further comment.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.