Over 150 protestors and supporters gathered in Baytown, TX on Thursday for the protect black women rally and demand justice for 44-year old Pamela Turner who was shot and killed by Baytown Police Officer Juan DelaCruz on May 13, 2019. Exactly two years after Turner’s death, DelaCruz is still employed by the BPD and her family is demanding action.
Black community activists, organizations, and families from victims of police brutality stood on top of a pickup truck with a microphone and a red jumbo speaker to stand up for black women.
“Malcolm X said the most disrespected person in America is the black women,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said.“Pam Turner’s life mattered and Black women’s lives mattered.”
Turner’s daughter, Chelsie Ruben, held up a sign of her mother Pamela Turner, Breonna Taylor, and Attiana Jefferson that said “justice for our queens.”
“It’s very hard to do this here today across from where my mother was murdered, but I thank everyone for the support because I need it,” Rubin said.
Crump, who is representing the family, detailed Turner’s last moments just across the street from the rally at the Brixton apartment complex.
According to Crump, DelaCruz confronted Turner four hours after the complex issued her an eviction notice. Crump said he believes DelaCruz intentionally disrespected Turner while she was in a mental health crisis and knew she was unarmed.
“He shot her in her face, in her breast and in her stomach like a dog on the street. You wouldn’t treat a dog that bad,” Crump said. “So why do you think we’re going to let you get away with treating black women like that.”
Bishop James Dixon, President of the Houston Chapter of the NAACP said Turner is a victim of a system that’s been racist for years. He also gave a brief lesson on Baytown, TX and its racist history.
“This ground has bred racists for generations. This is the same city that fought back against changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School,” Dixon said. “I grew up in Houston and I was taught don’t get caught in Baytown especially after the sun goes down,” he said “This is KKK territory.”
Activist Tamika Mallory and her organization Until Freedom made an appearance in the rally before heading off to the next victim of police brutality.
“We will fight until we die on behalf of black women and if not us who else,” Mallory said. “Ain’t no white man or white women going to step to us in our communities and tell us a damn thing about who we are and how we should treat our people.”
Mallory said she’s calling on black people to stand up for each other just like when police officers stand up for their colleagues no matter what the circumstances are of the case.
“When the police kill us they stand up for their officers regardless of whether they are right or wrong,” she said, “They recognize that they are protecting the blue and we ought to be protecting the black.”
Breonna Taylor’s Aunt Bianca Austin spoke at the rally about Taylor’s case and the conduct of police departments across the country.
“And it’s sad apparently Louisville isn’t the only one with a corrupt police department,” Austin said.
Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake Jr. who was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha,Wisconsin, said he released himself from the hospital just to come to the rally.
Blake explicitly called out President Joe Biden for not enacting any executive orders focusing on protecting the Black community.
“How you can sign an executive order to protect the Asian people and forget about the black people and we put your ass in office,” Blake said. “Now I expect that since I’m out of the hospital now that Mr. Biden has some things to answer for.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, also spoke at the rally and emphasized the importance of the black vote.
“We got to wake up, we gotta make sure we vote. I’m talking about the council, I’m talking about the mayor, not just the president,” Floyd said. “We are the ones who are electing these people in office that’s helping people commit these crimes.”
Floyd also said he’s getting really tired of seeing black people die from the hands of police.
“This is a never ending cycle and we all have to get out and march,” Floyd said. “Because if we don’t they’re going to sweep it under the rug just like they are doing in Minnesota, just like they are doing in Baytown.”
The next person to speak at the rally was Lakeisha Feast, Joshua Feast’s mother.
Joshua Feast was shot and killed while he was running away from officer Jose Santos in La Marque, Texas in December of last year.
“I just want justice for my son and they’re still telling us they are having an investigation,” Feast said. “My son is the second person this cop has killed.”
Another mother to speak was “Houston’s mother of the movement” Marian Tolan whose son Robbie Tolan was shot by police in his own driveway.
“We need to work harder in all these cases to get these people fired so that they can’t continue to go from one jurisdiction to another and continue killing our black men and women,” Tolan said.
The Signal talked to Ashley Carr, Attiana Jefferson’s sister, who said there has been no movement on her sister’s case because of the pandemic.
“We’re just waiting and they haven’t told us anything,” Carr said. “I just want justice for my sister.”
Turner, Taylor, and Jefferson are just some Black women who have died by the hands of police, and according to attorney Monique Pressley the numbers are inaccurate.
“The Washington Post in 2015 started doing a count y’all they started trying to figure out why if black people were only 13 percent of the population 20 percent of the women being killed were black,” Pressley said. “They know that black women have been the backbone of this country since the first ship came over on to this land.”
On May 25, Turner’s case will be heard by the Harris County Municipal Court to set a date for trial.
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.