A Harris County, Texas, grand jury has cleared a veteran police officer in the fatal shooting of unarmed 26-year-old Jordan Baker (pictured), USA Today reports.
Officials announced Tuesday that officer Juventino Castro would not face criminal charges in the January shooting death of Jordan Baker, after a grand jury met for months.
The decision represents the latest example of deeply ingrained racial inequalities in America’s criminal justice system, which has sparked protests in cities across the nation, protesters say. For months, demonstrators have expressed outrage over the deaths of Blacks at the hands of White police officers in Ferguson, Mo.; Staten Island, N.Y.; and other cities.
Still, Tuesday’s decision came as a blow to Baker’s family, who argue that Castro profiled him because he wore a black hoodie. Castro, a part-time security officer at the mall, was wearing his police uniform.
USA Today reports:
When the shooting occurred, Baker was at a northwest Houston strip mall that had been the site of a string of robberies. The Houston Police Department said Baker was looking in windows when Castro, who had been on the force for 10 years, approached him.
Baker struggled, ran away, then allegedly put his hands in his waistband and charged toward Castro. That’s when Castro shot and killed him.
Baker was later determined to be unarmed.
His mother, Janet Baker, said Tuesday that she plans to continue to fight for justice for her son.
“I intend to seek justice for Jordan,” she said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We just have a lot of work to do.”