To the people:
I don’t know anything about the Baytown, Texas Police Department. However, I can see the facts on the video…and I do know cases of police brutality. Right outside the The Brixton apartment complex, a veteran Baytown police officer named Juan Delacruz attempted to apprehend a woman by the name of Pamela Turner. This was not their first encounter. Delacruz was well aware of multiple outstanding warrants for Turner. Upon contact, Turner began to struggle. Delacruz responded by using his Taser. In the midst of the struggle, she somehow grabbed the Taser and fired it Delacruz. Immediately, Delacruz responded with lethal force. In the aftermath of the incident, it has become apparent that Turner struggled with serious mental illness.
While any loss of life is tragic, this situation is particularly tragic…because it didn’t have to happen. Mental illness should not be a fatal diagnosis. If Delacruz had exercised any logic/knowledge of mental illness, Turner would still be alive. Unfortunately, he didn’t and Turner is dead because of it. With this said, all of the language from the attorneys and activists who call every violent situation a racial hate crime serves to erase the primary issue of mental illness. I am not interested in erasure. Turner needed help…not primarily because she was black…but because her mind wasn’t right. Sometimes race is a secondary factor to another type of injustice. While Delacruz should be punished for his lack of logic/knowledge of mental illness, I believe that some of the attorneys and activists involved in this case should be too. It is as if when some of them jumped in their cars to race down to Baytown…they left logic behind. Unfortunately, the cause of Pamela Turner got left behind too.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood