Activists demand video in fatal 2014 Houston police shooting
Dec. 01, 2015
HOUSTON (AP) — Activists are demanding the release of video they believe shows the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a Houston police officer.
Houston police spokesman John Cannon said the video is among evidence in the investigation into the killing of 26-year-old Jordan Baker nearly two years ago, but police have not confirmed that any video shows Baker's death.
"We believe that there's something in that video that they're hiding that they don't want the public to see," said Deric Muhammad, a Houston activist who led a group that gathered Monday outside Houston Police Department headquarters to call for the video's release.
Baker was killed in January 2014 by Juventino Castro. The Houston police officer, who is Hispanic, was off duty but in uniform working a security job at a strip mall that had been the scene of several robberies.
Police at the time said Castro attempted to stop Baker, who briefly struggled with the officer and began running. At some point, Baker put his hands in his waistband, crouched down, charged the officer and told him he was not going to jail, police said.
Castro fired once, striking Baker.
"We've only heard one side of the story and that is the story of the officer," Muhammad said. "In that video could be Jordan Baker's voice. In that video could be the missing components of the truth that we know nothing about.
"If there's nothing on the video for us to see, then just release it."
A grand jury last December declined to indict the 10-year officer, citing a lack of evidence.
The police department said it won't release any evidence now because of possible civil litigation and on advice from the city attorney.
"A representative for Jordan Baker's estate has filed a claim with the city secretary seeking monetary damages," the department said in a statement.
Baker's mother has contended her son wrongly was profiled by the officer as a criminal wearing a hoodie. The Harris County District Attorney's Office has said other than Castro, no one else saw the shooting.
The department said administrative and criminal investigations of the shooting determined the officer's actions were "within compliance with departmental policy and state law." Besides the grand jury, the case also was reviewed by the city's Independent Police Oversight Board.