A 44-year-old woman was killed when a police officer shot her while he was attempting to arrest her. Pamela Turner had 2 outstanding warrants, and apparently had encounters with the officer before. A struggle ensued and was caught on video by a witness. Ms. Turner can be heard saying, "Your'e harassing me!" and "I'm pregnant!"
Police say in the struggle, Ms. Turner got the officer's taser away from him and tased him, at which point he shot her. According to Baytown Police Lieutenant Steve Dorris,
“The officer contacted the female and attempted to arrest her at which time a struggle ensued, forcing the officer to deploy his department issued Taser at the female. It appears that as the officer was then attempting to handcuff the female she was able to gain control of his Taser and turned it on the officer, Tasing the officer, which forced the officer to draw his duty weapon and fire multiple rounds at the female, striking her at least once.”
She was known in the neighborhood to have mental illness, and her sister told a local news station that Turner was on medication for schizophrenia. According to The Heavy, "'[a] Harris County judge ordered a mental health assessment citing 'early identification of suspected mental illness or intellectual disability,' according to court documents." Furthermore, she'd had interactions with this police officer before.
Turner’s family told KPRC-TV that she had complained about the officer who shot her “harassing” her in the past. Police did say that the officer recognized Turner from previous interactions, but did not provide details about those incidents. It is not clear if she had ever filed a formal complaint against the officer.
What is clear is that a mother of two and grandmother of three is dead, without having had the benefit of a moment's attempt at de-escalation, and the officer is on paid leave. They have not released bodycam footage (SHOCKER), but the existence of the bystander video will likely increase pressure on the police department to do so in the future. Because from THAT video, it sure looks like the officer fired five shots at a woman (who claimed she was pregnant) while she was on the ground.
Police have stated that the family claims Turner was not, in fact pregnant. That is good, I suppose, if it is true. The officer would have had no way of knowing that at the time, though. So, what business had he shooting five times at a woman who may have been pregnant? Or does that even matter? Either way, wasn't she entitled to due process regardless of the state of her womb? She did not deserve to die.