HOUSTON – The mother of an unarmed black college student, as administrator of his estate, shot to death by a Houston police officer in January 2014, sued the City in federal court here this morning. Jordan Baker was 26-years-old and is also survived by his 7-year-old son.
Janet Baker and her attorney, David B. Owens of the Chicago-based civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy, will speak at a 3 PM, December 2, 2015 press conference in front of the federal courthouse at 515 Rusk Street.
As with the police shooting case which yesterday prompted the firing of Chicago’s police superintendent, Baker’s killing has grown controversial due to the fact that he was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and due to the continued refusal of Houston Police to release video evidence of the incident even well after Baker’s death.
The video recordings, the suit alleges, provide evidence that the officer who shot Jordan Baker, Juventino Castro, provided a false account of his encounter with Baker. In addition, the suit alleges Castro’s purported excuse for shooting the unarmed Baker —that he put his hand “near his waistband” after fleeing Castro—is an excuse to attempt to justify the shooting.
In fact, the suit alleges, an unarmed person “reaching near his waistband” has been the excuse invoked in at least two previous high-profile Houston police-involved shootings, those of Steven Guidry in 2010 and Ricardo Salazar-Limon in 2012. The suit also takes direct aim at the Houston Police Department’s policies which, the suit alleges, permit the disproportionate detention and shooting of African-American city residents.
“This law suit is about accountability,” said Owens. “The family of Jordan Baker, like the community of Houston residents, deserves both transparency and truth. Without a public accounting of incidents like the shooting of unarmed Jordan Baker, which can only happen once the video evidence has been made public, it is impossible for the community to be able to keep officers accountable and, therefore, remain confident in their own government.”
A copy of today’s suit, Estate of Jordan Baker by and through administrator, Janet Baker, v. Houston, et al., No. 4:15-cv-03495, may be found here.
Loevy & Loevy is the largest civil rights law firm in the Midwest and has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade.