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The next big police shooting Grand Jury decision … in Houston

The next big police shooting Grand Jury decision … in Houston

In echoes of Ferguson shooting, police report unarrmed black man put hands to waistband, charged police officer

News station KPRC in Houston is reporting through its Click2Houston web site that a Grand Jury is continuing to consider whether to indict in a local case of a off-duty Houston Police Department (HPD) officer Juventino Castro shooting and killing an unarmed black man, 26-year-old Jordan Baker.

The Grand Jury began meeting last week, and Castro testified before them on December 11, but they have not as yet come to a decision.

Baker was killed by Castro in front of a strip mall where a string of robberies had been reported.  Castro was off-duty and working the strip mall as a security guard at the time.  It has been reported that Castro believed Baker to be a robbery suspect.

Baker’s family say he was approached by Castro as Baker was riding a bike to the store, and that Baker was killed merely for “being black and wearing a hoodie.”

On the police side of the narrative, HPD spokesperson says Baker:

put his hands in waistband, crouches down, charges the officer and tells the officer ‘I told you I am not going to jail.’

The community activist seeming to be getting the most press attention is someone who identifies themselves only as Quannell X.  He is reported to have said:

The officer wants you to believe he rushed him with no weapon? That makes no sense.


It is kind of ironic because that’s the same story that Darren Wilson gave when he shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  So it seems to be some kind of SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, as it relates to the stories that these officers give, Community Activist Deric Muhammad said the morning of the grand jury hearing.  Like somebody’s telling them  to say A, B, C, D, E, F, G and you’;re guaranteed to go home.

Tellingly, KPRC reports:

The protesters essentially say they will only be satisfied if there is a trial for Baker’s death.  Even then, they claim they will continue to protest the system.

We’ll keep an eye on this story, so keep an eye on us here at Legal Insurrection!

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Without more evidence, this one seems pretty iffy.

Of course Quannell The Tenth (as he is known in Houston) is rousing whatever rabble he can, and that will happen regardless.

But, without more evidence, I don’t see how they can prosecute Castro.

    joethefatman in reply to Ragspierre. | December 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Ralph Evans has been a pain for a long time around here. Nothing he does is ever going to get him in trouble as long as the cops are afraid of the NBP though.

    As an aside,it was fun to watch him get run out of Pasadena once.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to joethefatman. | December 17, 2014 at 5:26 am

      Pasadena, TX. It was over the shotgun shooting of two “black Hispanic” illegals robbing the guy’s neighbor and was on the shooter’s property. Quannell and the boys decided to have a march – maybe twenty big militant NBPP dues with loud mouth, bully, and threats. The locals, hundreds of them, perhaps a thousand, surrounded them. The NBPP guys were packing and flashing it, IIRC. When that crowd of white neighbor citizens surrounded them, Quannell and the boys couldn’t run fast enough, jumped into their vehicles and left with tires screeching.

      That is as it should be. The cops and DA passed on any charges. Quannell and his boys most likely had to hit a Target or Walmart to buy a change of shorts.

      End of story, except for the ongoing threats the shooter, Hoe Horn, received.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Ragspierre. | December 17, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Quannell X is an Owl Sharpton wannabe.

    He thought Joe Horn over in Pasadena was his ticket, and he and his Black Panther posse turned up in Horn’s neighborhood for a peaceful “protest” after Horn was no-billed for shooting two burglars leaving a neighbor’s house. Counter protesters and about 50 guys on Harleys showed up and drowned out their bullhorn rhymes.

    Fast forward to about 1:40.

Suicide by cop. It does make no sense, but it happens all the time. Guy would rather be dead than in jail so he makes a snap decision, figuring as a bonus that he might get to commit a murder before he goes.

Quannell X surely has it in him to do the same. That’s a “black Muslim” name and Islamic ideology instructs Muslims to go out committing murder. It is actually the ONLY way in Islam to avoid eternal hellfire, since to die “fighting in the way of Allah” absolves all sins and guarantees paradise, 72 virgins, etc, while the Islamic doctrine on salvation is otherwise humanly impossible to satisfy.

That’s why Maher was wrong to say that the 9/11 terrorists were brave. No, they were physical cowards who believed their religion (they committed suicide for their religion, so they obviously believed it), and their religion says that murder-suicide is the only way not to have their flesh burned off and then restored for fresh burning over and over again for eternity. They believed that, and physical fear of that fate is what drive all shaheeds. They are physical cowards, while Baker was a moral coward.

Yet another reason why all police officers should be required to wear lapel cams at any time they are acting as police officers. If they’re still allowed to shoot people even when they’re technically “off-duty” and acting as strip mall rent-a-cops, then I guess they’ll have to wear them then, too.

If the cop is honest, as I believe the vast majority are, it will protect him from false accusations. If he’s not, well…

    Wrong. The small, blurry, jumping around, muted or silent, etc image from a lapel cam or other such will only add fuel to the fires, and at best only tell part of the story, from a limited angle even then.

      Have you actually seen any lapel camera footage on youtube? It’s nothing like you suggest. Here’s an example:

      And again, if the police are telling the truth, a bit of additional hard evidence, besides his or her word, can only help.

      It’s a good deal both for law-abiding cops and for law-abiding citizens alike.

      For instance, what we have here is “police report unarrmed black man put hands to waistband, charged police officer”. Do you really not think a lapel camera (given the sound and image quality of them as demonstrated in my youtube link, not your imaginary “small, blurry, jumping around, muted or silent, etc image”) would have captured that?

      And if it demonstrated that the situation was exactly as the police office claimed it was, Quannell X and his fellow race-agitators would have been shut down before they could even get started.

      And if it didn’t, well…

    Milhouse in reply to Amy in FL. | December 18, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Wrong. He was off duty and not acting as a cop. So why should he have worn a cam? If cops should be made to wear a cam off duty, then why shouldn’t everyone else be made to wear them too? Hello 1984.

    Milhouse in reply to Amy in FL. | December 18, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Anyone is allowed to shoot people who are charging them, in circumstances where a reasonable person would fear for his life. The fact that this guy’s day job is as a cop is irrelevant.

Is it suicide by cop, or is it bullying? I wonder of the perp’s size has something to do with it?

Also possibly the presence of female officers?

Something similar happened in Salt Lake City recently. The civilian moved his hands to his waistband. However, he did not charge the officer and did not undertake any other threatening action. The officer shot and killed him on the basis of reasonable suspicion. The county DA, Sim Gill, literally tortured the video evidence, frame by frame by frame, attempting to establish probable cause. The civilian was white and the officer was black.

Here again we have a case of a miscreant behaving badly to a cop and getting themselves killed.

Did this ‘gentleman’ not read the Ferguson Grand Jury report?


Is anyone surprised at the outcome. Really surprised?

Bueller? Bueller?

My daughter is 5-foot 4 inches tall, about 130 lb, and a cop. If attacked I consider it her duty to “shoot until the threat is neutralized” so she can make it home at night to be the mother to my grandchildren.

I will submit that I believe these people keep putting their hands to their waistbands because they are wearing baggy pants and do not want to trip on their own pant legs while charging.

This is another argument for body cameras, although an off duty cop would be unlikely to wear one.

My prediction, FWIW, is that there will not be enough evidence to indict Castro. It will all depend on what the DA tells the Grand Jury, and whether they as a GJ have any independent spirit. After Ferguson, they will be wary of eyewitness testimony.

But cop testimony is also suspect. They are trained in what to say. “He reached for his waistband.” “He charged me.” “He staggered.” “He had glassy eyes and slurred speech.” A lot of it is by rote.

What this story fails to add is, not only that
1.Jordan Baker was a father of a 7yr old son, college student, and had no criminal background.
2.Jordan Baker had no stolen property, tools, weapons, drugs on him, or drugs in his system when he was killed.
3.Jordan Baker had no warrants.
4.Jordan Baker had no reason to fear of going “back to jail”, since he was not a criminal.(google “HPD: Off-duty officer kills man who threatened him”)
5.Juventino Castro is a trained and paid to lie, as an undercover law enforcement officer.
6.Juventino Castro had not received any reports of robberies in that shopping center at all in January 2014 (see Houston crime stat report 5700 West Little York
7.Juventino Castro failed to state what was “suspicious” about Jordan Baker to initiate the interaction between the two.
8.Juventino Castro has changed his accounts of the events, and should have no problem submitting to a lie detector exam.(google HPD Investigation into Incident at 5700 West Little York )
9.Juventino Castro assumed dirt on Jordan would come up after the shooting to justify the killing, after the fact, as it has been accepted in most other instances(obviously my opinion not fact).

And my question, what happened to the bike, Jordan was riding that night?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to legalassister. | December 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I will go ahead and just grant that everything you point out about Mr. Baker is accurate, even though I have no proof. However, even if all of that is true, it doesn’t keep Mr. Baker from doing something bone headed just this one time. It happens frequently, just like folks diving into water they assume is deep enough. Unfortunately that one bad decision leads to life changing consequences, it just happens.

    On your points on Mr. Castro, well..

    #5 Aren’t most lawyers paid and trained to lie as well? Don’t let your prejudice against police influence your critical thinking skills.

    #6 Ok, so none for that month, which makes sense. People are less deperate after the holidays, so there were probably more the couple of months before. One good month does not a patter make.

    #7 He “failed to state what was suspicious”…as far as you know, as much info as is available I doubt you have all of it.

    #8 Most peoples account of events changes over time. Also, why would you waste time on a lie detector since they are not admissible as evidence and don’t measure truthfulness.

    You seem to have decided that Castro is guilty already.

The purpose of a Grand Jury is to determine if there is Probable Cause that a crime has been committed, and that a full trial with public disclosure of the evidence for both sides, and determination of guilt by an impartial jury.

This case certainly seems to cry out for deeper examination by a jury trial:
The suspicious behavior that led to the stop was that Jordan was looking into store windows. Since when is that criminally suspicious behavior, in a shopping mall?
On the basis of this supposedly suspicious behavior, the cop felt justified in detaining and arresting Jordan? Who amongst us would not feel unfairly, even illegally, treated?
Jordan initially ran away from the off-duty but uniformed cop. That was a poor choice, but understandable when facing what may have appeared to him as racial discrimination.
Supposedly, he placed his hands in his waistband and charged the cop. Who chooses to run with his hands in his pockets or waistband, if unarmed, which Jordan evidently was? This allegation seems to consistently appear in police accounts, even in the Brown-Wilson case, where Brown also was unarmed, and is obviously intended to establish sympathetic justification for use of deadly force.

This seems to be an instance where, if the prosecutor fulfills his duty, an indictment will be returned. Unjustified murders of law-abiding citizens by police actions are becoming all too frequent, and the trend in police thinking seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later”.

A jury trial will at least ask some good questions.