BAYTOWN, Texas - A crowd gathered for hours in Baytown Thursday afternoon calling for justice for a black woman, who was killed by a Baytown police officer two years ago.
It was on this day in 2019 at a Baytown apartment complex that Pamela Turner was shot and killed by Officer Juan Delacruz so dozens gathered for a rally there.
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"From New York City all the way to Baytown, TX we came to say that black women matter," says Activist Tamika Mallory. Supporters came from across the country calling for the conviction of Baytown Police Officer Juan Delacruz and to remember the woman he shot and killed Pamela Turner. "This incident that took place could have been de-escalated," says Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad.
Delacruz and Turner both lived in the same apartment complex and on May 13, 2019, the officer recognized Turner as someone with an outstanding warrant and attempted to arrest her. Cell phone video shows the two strugglings. Turner was tased and ended up with the officer's taser then Delacruz opens fire on her.
"This is an American crisis," says Houston NAACP President Bishop James Dixon.
"She suffered from mental health problems and because the state of Texas doesn’t take care of those who suffer from mental health the criminal justice system winds up taking care of them. Black people make up 18% of Harris county but we’re 48 to 52% of the Harris County jail population," adds Minister Muhammad.
RELATED: Pamela Turner's family says she struggled with paranoid schizophrenia
"This black woman was unarmed, he knew it. She was on her back, he could have did [sic] any number of things besides shoot at her five times," says Turner family Attorney Ben Crump. Families of other people of color shot by officers also attended the rally including relatives of Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Robbie Tolan, and George Floyd. "When you lose your mom you lose darn near everything that you have so I’m going to fight for her as hard as I can," says George Floyd’s Brother Philonise Floyd.
"Nobody’s silent anymore. Everybody’s standing up and I think it’s a change that we need. It’s the start of something special," says George Floyd’s Nephew Brandon Floyd.
"You see these families coming and standing together and it’s a powerful statement but I’m wondering how many more of these families do we have to see join this cause until we can stop this," adds Musician Bun B.
"It’s an amazing feeling to have all these people come and show their support. (What’s in your heart for your mom today?) For my mom, I just want to say I love you so much and I’m going to do everything I can. That’s a good question you just made me smile," says Chelsie Rubin who is celebrating her birthday and the crowd sang birthday wishes to her.
The rally was hosted by Houston musician and activist Trae Tha Truth who was just given Billboard Music’s Changemaker Award. "For them to even recognize somebody in the trenches like me, somebody that’s out here on the ground every day that’s definitely a blessing and an honor".
Officer Delacruz still works for the Baytown Police Department but those who rallied today say they hope he won’t for much longer. In September Delacruz was indicted and charged with Aggravated Assault by a Public Servant. His next court date is May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.