A police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black woman whose last words were “I’m pregnant!” following a physical confrontation in an apartment complex parking lot in suburban Houston Monday night. The woman and the officer were not immediately identified, but a bystander managed to capture the fatal episode on camera in the city of Baytown.
“Baytown Police Lt. Steve Dorris said an officer on patrol saw a 45-year-old woman the officer had had prior encounters with,” CBS News reported. “He knew the woman had outstanding warrants, so he approached her to arrest her.”
That encounter turned into a struggle between the two, with the woman falling to the ground before the officer used his Taser on her. When she got up and pushed the officer away, the cop pulled out his gun and shot her multiple times at very close range.
The video of the shooting went viral overnight and spread quickly across social media. It was the latest instance of an unarmed Black person being killed when standard police training, in theory, should have allowed the officer to de-escalate the situation without resorting to lethal force, at least. At best, the officer could have called for backup since his life did not appear to be in any kind of imminent danger.
Baytown police said they want to speak with the person who recorded the shooting and said it was “unfortunate” that person decided to post the footage to social media.
“It’s extremely disrespectful for everybody involved,” Dorris told CBS News. “But that’s the day and age we live in with social media.”
Of course, cellphone video cameras and social media have become the great equalizer surrounding police shootings that many times result in conflicting accounts from law enforcement and shooting victims. The footage can many times offer a truthful and accurate snapshot of the incident in question and serve as critical evidence in the event the officer is charged, which is a rarity.