BAYTOWN, Texas — Pamela Turner, the woman shot and killed by a Baytown police officer, was laid to rest Thursday.

Now Pamela Turner’s loved ones and activists from around the country are pushing for a swift investigation while expressing anger that the officer who killed Turner is back on the job.

Inside the Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church in southeast Houston, around 200 friends, family members and strangers celebrated Pamela Turner’s life Thursday morning.

“She cared about the emotions and feelings of others,” said Yolanda Smith Ellis, Turner’s cousin.

“I’ve lost a lot of family members, but the way I feel now is unexplainable,” said Antoinette Dorsey, who said she was like "a second mom" to Turner. “I stand here as a person without a heart because my heart is in that casket with Pam.”

The funeral also doubled as a call to action after Turner’s death.

“Houston, we have a problem,” said Ben Crump, a well-known civil rights attorney working with Turner’s family. “Pamela Turner needed a helping hand from the police. What she got was bullets in her body.”

The 44-year-old was shot and killed by Baytown police officer Juan Delacruz on May 13 when he tried to arrest Turner for outstanding warrants. Authorities say Turner grabbed the officer’s Taser and used it against him, and that’s when he shot her. 

However, Turner’s family said her death was unjustified. They released their own autopsy results Wednesday showing Turner was shot three times.

“It’s Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Rev. Al Sharpton while delivering the eulogy. “If you don’t know how to deal with people with issues, you ought not to give them a badge.”

After the funeral, Turner’s family was upset over news Thursday morning that Officer Delacruz was back on duty.

“Pam have a voice, and y'all need to stop using her mental illness to justify what this monster did to her,” Dorsey said.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) wants the Department of Justice to investigate. She believes Turner's civil rights were denied under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rep. Lee, like Turner’s family and attorneys, also wants to see action in the courts.

“The District Attorney should take all of the video and there should be a grand jury right now,” Rep. Lee said.

On Thursday afternoon, Lt. Steve Dorris of the Baytown Police Department told KHOU 11 paid 3-day administrative leave is the industry standard for police shootings and not a punishment.

Lt. Dorris said Delacruz was placed on administrative duty on Monday and will be off the streets on desk duty while the investigation continues.

The lieutenant said there are currently no plans to change that, but “based on how (the investigations) turn out, then his status may change.”

The Texas Rangers are investigating after a request from Baytown PD, which is conducting its own internal investigation.


Editor’s note: As a news management team, we discussed streaming the funeral.  Pamela Turner’s death has made national headlines and is still under investigation. Some of the things mentioned in the funeral may be about the investigation. As we bring you the funeral, we are also staying in contact with law enforcement to make sure all sides of the story are told. 

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