AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The Texas Municipal Police Association has issued a statement concerning a recent officer-involved shooting that left a woman dead in Baytown.
TMPA executive director Kevin Lawrence issued a statement Wednesday about the "tragic event" which addressed what he calls "completely irresponsible news coverage" of the shooting.
"While there has been a media firestorm over the last twenty-four hours surrounding what happened in Baytown, Texas, TMPA is disheartened to see several crucial details consistently absent from the media's coverage or not given appropriate weight," Lawrence stated. "The completely irresponsible news coverage that has occurred has led to civil unrest, which has significant consequences for our communities' public safety, and the relationship between law enforcement and the people of Texas."
Pamela Turner, 44, was killed when she struggled with a Baytown patrol officer over a taser Monday night. Police say the officer knew Turner and knew she had outstanding warrants. He tried to arrest her but she struggled and he tased her, but it was not effective, according to police.
That's when she was able to get the taser away from the officer and tase him, police say. The officer then pulled his duty weapon and fired several shots, hitting her at least once. The officer attempted to render aid, but Turner was pronounced dead at the scene, police say.
The struggle and the shooting were captured on Snapchat video. On the video, Turner seems to be heard saying "I'm pregnant," but Baytown police say she was not pregnant.
Lawrence's statement addressed that the interaction between the officer and Turner was "lawful and unavoidable" and the officer followed his duty under state law and that in taking and using the officer's taser against him, she committed a felony offense and was indeed armed despite media reports she wasn't.
Read TMPA's full statement below:
Most importantly, to begin, the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) sincerely offers the family and loved ones of the officer involved and Pamela Turner our deepest condolences. Every one impacted by this tragic event are in the thoughts and prayers of our association.
While there has been a media firestorm over the last twenty-four hours surrounding what happened in Baytown, Texas, TMPA is disheartened to see several crucial details consistently absent from the media's coverage or not given appropriate weight. The completely irresponsible news coverage that has occurred has led to civil unrest, which has significant consequences for our communities' public safety, and the relationship between law enforcement and the people of Texas.
First, Texas police officers do not have discretion on effecting arrests for individuals they know have outstanding warrants. The officer in this incident, an 11-year veteran of the Baytown department, was familiar with Ms. Turner and had knowledge of warrants for her arrest on previous offenses, and he followed his duty under Texas state law. In short, the interaction between the officer and Ms. Turner was lawful and unavoidable.
Second, the media has repeatedly claimed that Ms. Turner was not armed. After she initiated a struggle by resisting the lawful arrest of the officer, he deployed his taser. Ms. Turner then successfully wrestled his taser away from him and began to use it against him. At this point, Ms. Turner has committed a felony offense (disarming a police officer) and was now armed herself.
Any officer-involved shooting is a tragedy. TMPA and its members deeply recognize the importance of the relationship between law enforcement and the great people of our state and these incidents are serious and demand serious reflection and investigation. The state and national press, however, have done all of Texas law enforcement a disservice in their portrayal of events thus far and our members, as well as all officers in Texas, deserve better.
TMPA asks everyone to allow the established process for thoroughly investigating these tragic events to unfold and to respect the families of all those involved during this extremely difficult time.