Jordan Baker, an unarmed 26-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by a Houston police officer last January. The officer involved in the shooting was cleared of any wrongdoing by a Harris County grand jury Tuesday (Dec. 23), capping an emotional period for the Baker family.
The Houston Chronicle has been keeping an eye on the developments of the case, noting that the grand jury panel has been meeting for months trying to come to a determination. Officer Juventino Castro, a 10-year veteran, encountered Baker in a strip mall parking lot and initially thought he fit the description of a robbery suspect.
After giving chase to Baker and a scuffle, the officer claimed Baker charged him and reached into his waist. Baker’s mother has said publicly that Officer Castro racially profiled her son, thus prompting the fatal event.
More from the Houston Chronicle:
The inquiry marked one of Harris County’s first grand jury deliberations in a police shooting following recent unrest over the lack of indictments in the officer-involved deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York.
Baker’s death has gained national attention as another unarmed black man killed by police, a trend that has sparked protests and calls for body cameras on officers.
Janet Baker, who spent most of Tuesday and Thursday last week awaiting a decision at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, had maintained that Castro profiled her son – who was wearing a black hoodie – as a criminal. Along with activists, she has been accompanied by mothers whose sons have been injured or killed in local shootings.
Baker and supporters were hoping the grand jury would indict Castro and move the case to a trial by jury.