The woman shot by a Baytown, Texas, policeman after telling the officer she was pregnant suffered from schizophrenia, attorney Ben Crump said Thursday.
While Baytown police Lt. Steve Dorris has said Pamela Shantay Turner, 45, was not pregnant, Crump said her family has arranged a private autopsy to determine if that’s true. The results of the exam will be available Friday, he said.
“This is a woman who is struggling with schizophrenia,” the civil rights attorney said. “Her daughter just gave birth to her granddaughter. Maybe she’s having a moment of channeling her daughter. We don’t know. Maybe she is trying to protect herself and say things that will prevent this police officer from further battering her.”
Turner’s funeral is scheduled for May 23. The Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy, Crump said.
Police have said that Officer Juan Delacruz was patrolling an apartment complex in the Houston suburb when he saw Turner, whom he knew had outstanding warrants. He tried to arrest her, police said.
Shaky cell phone video captured the interaction. Turner yells at the officer, “I’m walking! I’m actually walking to my house!” and then accuses Delacruz of harassing her.
As he tries to handcuff the woman, she breaks free, prompting Delacruz to deploy his Taser. Turner slowly drops to the ground, the video shows.
A scuffle ensues, and Turner keeps yelling, “Why?” Delacruz continues his attempts to take her into custody, and Turner flails her arms and yells, “I’m pregnant!”
The woman appears to reach for the officer, who stands back and fires five rounds, the video shows.
Police later said Turner “was able to gain control of the Taser and used it on the officer.”
Delacruz attempted to administer first aid, police said, but Turner was pronounced dead at the scene.
Turner’s sister, Antoinette, told CNN affiliate KPRC that the woman has two children in their 20s and three grandchildren.
Delacruz is an 11-year veteran of the department, Baytown police said. He is on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate. Per protocol, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is assisting with the investigation, police said.
Dorris, the police lieutenant, said it’s unfortunate and “extremely disrespectful” that the person who captured the cell phone video shared it on social media.
Police have asked the owner of the video to come forward, but Crump said Thursday that he is working with the man to retain an attorney because “he doesn’t trust the police.”