BAYTOWN, Texas – The Texas Rangers are taking over the investigation into the deadly Baytown police officer-involved shooting of Pamela Turner at the request of the Baytown chief of police.
The announcement on Wednesday comes hours after Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth and dozens of supporters gathered to comfort the Turner family and demand criminal charges against the officer.
Baytown police said that Monday night, an officer patrolling the Brixton apartment complex recognized Turner from “prior dealings” and approached her to arrest her for outstanding warrants.
Turner resisted, and the officer deployed his Taser, the department said. Video of part of the incident was posted on social media and quickly went viral.
WARNING! GRAPHIC VIDEO
Witnesses record deadly officer-involved shooting in Baytown
Editor's note: Because of its graphic nature, the video below has been edited.
When the unidentified officer tried to handcuff Turner on the ground, she wrestled the Taser away from the officer and used it against him, Baytown police said.
That’s when the officer fired five shots, according to the video. Baytown police said Turner was hit at least once, and could not be revived.
Family members said Turner, a 44-year-old mother of two and grandmother of three, was taking medication for schizophrenia.
Trae Tha Truth demonstration
Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth organized a demonstration on Wednesday at the Brixton Apartment Complex attended by dozens of people, including Turner’s daughter and sister.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who said he will work with attorney Benjamin Crump to represent the Turner family, said the officer “should have already been fired.”
“The officer should be seriously criminally prosecuted,” said Merritt, who flew in from Philadelphia. “He resorted immediately to the use of deadly force against a 44-year-old grandmother.”
Houston minister Abdul Haleem Mohammed led a prayer with the family and others at the spot where Turner died.
“This is almost deja vu and groundhog day all over again,” Mohammed said. “We die, and the policemen walk! That has been the record unless it has been totally egregious.”
Activist Ernest Walker, who drove down from Dallas to participate, said the officer “made a decision to take three steps, two or three steps back and execute her and murder her.”
“We want murder charges against this officer, nothing less,” Walker said. “He made a decision, a conscious decision to murder.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Baytown Police Department Internal Affairs Division are conducting investigations into whether the officer followed department policy.
Baytown police on Wednesday turned over the deadly shooting investigation to the Texas Rangers, at the request of the chief.
“While Chief Dougherty has full faith and confidence in his investigators, he has also heard and understands the public demands for transparency,” Baytown police Lt. Steve Dorris said.
“Chief Dougherty wants to thank the community for remaining peaceful during their expressions of concern over the past several days,” Dorris said in a statement. “He also asks the public to please keep in mind these investigations take time to ear out all the facts and be fully completed.”