Texas officer shoots and kills woman after stun-gun struggle

Josh Stokes holds a protest sign outside the police department on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in Baytown, Texas. (AP)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Texas officer shoots and kills woman after stun-gun struggle

  • The officer, who police have not identified by name, has been placed on paid administrative leave

BAYTOWN, Texas: A police officer shot and killed a woman at a Houston-area apartment complex after she hit him with his Taser during a struggle, shocking him, police said.
In a video recorded by a witness and posted on social media, the officer can be seen standing over Pamela Turner and reaching down to try to grab her arms. Turner, who is lying on the ground outside the apartments in Baytown, yells “I’m pregnant.” Moments later, something flashes as she reaches her arm out toward the officer. Suddenly, the officer pulls away from Turner, steps back and fires five gunshots.
Police Lt. Steve Dorris said Tuesday that the officer shot at Turner after she hit him in the groin with the Taser. Turner did not fire the stun gun but it shocked the officer when it struck him, Dorris said.
The lieutenant said police have since learned from the medical examiner’s office in Harris County that Turner, who was 44 and black, was not pregnant. She was pronounced dead at the scene, he said. A spokeswoman with the medical examiner’s office declined to comment.
The officer, who police have not identified by name, has been placed on paid administrative leave, Dorris said. The department is reviewing whether the shooting was in line with its policy on the use of deadly force, he said.
Before the shooting, the officer, who is Hispanic and an 11-year veteran of the police force, was patrolling the apartment complex and tried to arrest Turner because he knew she had outstanding warrants, Dorris said. The two had previous dealings, but Dorris did not provide further details about the interactions or Turner’s warrants.
Turner had three outstanding misdemeanor warrants for two separate incidents, according to Harris County court records. She was accused of criminal mischief and assault on April 25 after a manager at her apartment complex told police that Turner scratched her face and broke her glasses during a confrontation over an eviction notice.
On May 2, court records show, Turner was again accused of criminal mischief for damaging the back window of a woman’s car.
Following her May 2 arrest, Turner was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to court records.
The video of what happened Monday night shows the officer and Turner engaged in a struggle after he tried to arrest her. In the video, Turner is heard saying “You’re actually harassing me” and “I’m actually walking to my house” before falling to the ground. While on her back, she appears to scuffle with the officer, saying “Why? Why?” and then “I’m pregnant.”
Investigators are trying to contact whoever recorded the video, because the person was a witness to the shooting, the lieutenant said.
“It’s a tragic event for everybody involved,” Dorris said. “Of course, our hearts go out to the family of the deceased as well as our officer.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Turner’s neighbors gathered not far from an orange ring painted on the apartment complex parking lot to mark where she was shot. Standing amid the modest brick and aluminum homes, one of Turner’s neighbors said the incident frightened her.
“It’s just sad — very sad — when you see somebody for the past six months walking around,” Jennifer Sims said. “Even though you don’t talk to them, you keep an eye on them, you know. And then you wake up and realize, ‘Oh, my God. She was shot so close to home.’ That’s scary, and very sad.”
Baytown, a city of more than 75,000 people, is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Houston. Its population is 35 percent white, 46 percent Hispanic and 16 percent black, according to the US Census Bureau.
Outside the city’s police station Tuesday, about a dozen protesters gathered carrying signs with “No Justice. No Peace” and “Black Lives Matter” written on them.
“This is another black woman who has lost her life,” said Ashton P. Woods, an activist with Black Lives Matter Houston. “Another black person who has lost their life, for senseless violence. Five shots. Unarmed.”
Kevin Davis, a police detective and the author of a book on investigating police use of force, said it is impossible to make a proper assessment of Turner’s shooting based only on the video and facts released so far.
Davis, who is not connected to the case, said the smartphone videos that have become common in police shootings can lead people to rush to judgment. “We owe it to everyone involved, including the decedent, to do a professional investigation,” he said.
 


Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

Updated 25 May 2019
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Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is preparing a belt-tightening budget to tame its fiscal deficit, the de facto finance minister said on Saturday, adding that both civilian and military rulers agreed austerity measures were needed to stabilise the economy.
But Hafeez Shaikh, Prime Minister Imran Khan's top finance adviser, declined to say whether the military's hefty budget would be cut following last week's agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion loan.
The IMF has said the primary budget deficit should be trimmed by the equivalent of $5 billion, but previous civilian rulers have rarely dared to trim defence spending for fear of stoking tensions with the military.
Unlike some other civilian leaders in Pakistan's fragile democracy, Khan appears to have good relations with the country's powerful generals.
More than half of state spending currently goes on the military and debt-servicing costs, however, limiting the government's options for reducing expenditure.
"The budget that is coming will have austerity, that means that the government's expenditures will be put at a minimum level," Shaikh told a news conference in the capital Islamabad on Saturday, a few weeks before the budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year ending in June is due to be presented.
"We are all standing together in it whether civilians or our military," said Shaikh, a former finance minister appointed by Khan as part of a wider shake-up of his economic team in the last two months.
In the days since last week's agreement with the IMF, the rupee currency dropped 5% against the dollar and has lost a third of its value in the past year.
Under the IMF's terms, the government is expected to let the rupee fall to help correct an unsustainable current account deficit and cut its debt while trying to expand the tax base in a country where only 1% of people file returns.
Shaikh has been told by the IMF that the primary budget deficit -- excluding interest payments -- should be cut to 0.6% of GDP, implying a $5 billion reduction from the current projection for a deficit of 2.2% of GDP.
The next fiscal year's revenue collection target will be 5.55 trillion rupees ($36.88 billion), Shaikh told the news conference, highlighting the need for tough steps to broaden the tax base.