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HPD releases Jordan Baker shooting video

Houston police initially weren't going to release the video because of the threat of a lawsuit.
Jordan Baker, man fatally shot by Houston officer

The Houston Police Department reversed its earlier decision and released surveillance video Wednesday evening, showing the moments before Jordan Baker, 26, was shot and killed by an HPD officer.

Baker's family has been fighting to have the video released but his mother, Janet Baker, said that seeing it just raises more questions about why he was stopped, and how that moment led to his death.

The video is not very clear and doesn't show the actual shooting. In it, you can see Baker riding through a strip center parking lot on his bicycle in January 2014. Then a white car pulls up behind him, with HPD Officer Juventino Castro at the wheel.

The Baker family's attorney, Chicago-based David Owens, said he thinks the video backs up the family's claim in a new federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning, that Baker was stopped illegally. They believe it was racial profiling.

"The allegations in the complaint about Jordan being unlawfully stopped are supported by the video," said Owens. "It's not illegal to ride your bike in America."

HPD releases surveillance video of man killed by officer

Castro thought Baker matched the description of a burglary suspect and he said Baker struggled when he stopped him. Castro said Baker ran, then turned and reached toward his waistband.

That's when Castro shot and killed him. Baker was unarmed. A grand jury no-billed the officer a year ago.

Mayor Annise Parker said Wednesday she believes videos like this should be released sooner, regardless of what they show.

"We should protect these videos when we are investigating," Parker said. "We should protect these videos when there is a clear process that requires confidentiality, and then, as soon as those processes are gone through, in the interest of transparency, we should release them."

Photos: Protest for Jordan Baker in downtown Houston

"It was part of the information," said Janet Baker. "It was part of that last night that is still a question mark. I don't understand how Jordan went three blocks away from his home and he never returned and he was taken from my life forever."

Houston police initially weren't going to release the video because of the threat of a lawsuit. But Chief Charles McClelland said Wednesday evening they changed their stance in the interest of public trust and transparency.

Parker wants a new uniform policy for when and how to release any videos like this, especially because they're about to roll out body cameras for all HPD officers, and cases like Baker's will be occuring more frequently.

Related: Activists call for release of video

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