A grand jury in Houston decided on Tuesday not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old unarmed black man in January. This is the fourth decision favoring police in the United States in recent officer-involved killings, which have triggered nationwide protests over the use of excessive force by law enforcement.
Officer Juventino Castro, who was off-duty and working as a private security guard at a strip mall, shot Jordan Baker in January after a scuffle broke out between the two, law enforcement officials reportedly said. Castro had reportedly said that he confronted Baker after suspecting him of being a burglar targeting the mall.
“Officer Castro, fearing for his life, discharged his duty weapon one time, striking Baker,” police reportedly said.
Baker's mother reportedly said that Castro had suspected her son to be a criminal based on his race and clothing.
"I know they are disappointed, but the grand jury's decision means they found that there was no probable cause to believe a crime was committed," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Harris County grand jury decision comes amid growing tensions in the country over the killings of black people by white police officers. A Staten Island grand jury decided last month not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. This was preceded by a Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In another case, local authorities decided Monday not to criminally charge Milwaukee Officer Christopher Manney in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, another black man.