HPD officer to reappear before grand jury on killing of unarmed black man

By Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - A Houston police officer is will reappear before a grand jury Tuesday for the killing of an unarmed black man in January.

The jury met on Dec. 11 but did not come to a decision.

Jordan Baker was shot and killed by HPD Officer Juventino Castro, who reportedly thought Baker was a robbery suspect. The shooting happened at a northwest Houston strip center where a string of robberies had been reported.  Officer Castro was off-duty at the time and working at the strip center as a security guard.

Baker's family says the 26-year-old was riding a bike to the store when he was approached by the officer and was only guilty of "being black and wearing a hoodie."  

Houston Police Department Spokesperson Kese Smith said that Baker "put his hands in waistband, crouches down, charges the officer and tells the officer 'I told you I am not going to jail,'" during the incident.

Community activist Quanell X spoke on behalf of the family after the shooting.

"This man committed no crime," said Quanell X. "The officer wants you to believe he rushed him with no weapon? That makes no sense."

"It is kind of ironic because that's the same story that Darren Wilson gave when he shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  So it seems to be some kind of SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, as it relates to the stories that these officers give, Community Activist Deric Muhammad said the morning of the grand jury hearing.  "Like somebody's telling them  to say A, B, C, D, E, F, G and you';re guaranteed to go home."

"I'm very hopeful.  I believe in God.  I really don't believe in the system, I'm trying to work with it," Janet Baker, the victim's mother said.  "I guess the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Would I be crazy  to think that at this time, you know, that something different will occur?  I'm prayerful and I'm hopeful and I just miss my son, a really good guy."

The proceedings comes in the midst of national outcry and widespread protests concerning the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, black males who were all killed at the hands of police officers.

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