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Unarmed Man Shot And Killed By Houston Cop For Wearing A Hoodie While Black

Jordan Baker (ABC 13)
Jordan Baker

Jordan Baker (Source: ABC 13)

Jordan Baker, a 26-year-old Houston Community College student and father, “took his last breath in a trash-strewn alley behind a Northwest Houston strip center” on Thursday, January 16, all because he was a black man wearing a hoodie.

Houston police officer J Castro, an 11-year veteran who was moonlighting as a security guard for the strip mall that night, was on the lookout for hoodie-wearing armed robbery suspects. Castro says Baker, who was unarmed, matched the description and he shot and killed him as a result.

The police version of events, as reported by the local ABC affiliate, follows the predictable “he wasn’t cooperating and the cop was scared for his life” script:

According to police reports, an off-duty officer working security at the strip center, which is at the intersection of Antoine Drive and West Little York Road, Thursday night when he saw Jordan Baker riding his bike through the parking lot and peeking into businesses. When the officer asked Baker for an I.D., he said there was a scuffle, and a footchase, with the officer finally cornering Baker in the alley. The officer told investigators Baker charged toward him, and that’s when he fired his gun.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, before Baker was even named as the victim, police falsely told reporters that their officer had killed the man behind the robberies.

Castro, the only witness to the incident, has since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, as is routine in police-involved shootings. But if Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland’s statement to KHOU 11 News is any indication, Castro’s actions are likely to be deemed justified.

Though McClelland admitted that investigators “found no weapons,” he added that “any police officer’s decision and justification to use deadly force is not absolute on whether the suspect is armed with a weapon.” He continued, “There is no federal, state law nor police training that requires a suspect to be armed. The justification to use deadly force is based on the officer’s perception given the specific circumstances surrounding the incident.”

It seems that in Houston, being black and wearing a hoodie is plenty justification for police to open fire, whether one is armed or not. As community activist Quanell-X put it, “He was guilty of only two things –being a young African male wearing a hoodie at night,” adding “He wants everyone to believe that Jordan rushed him unarmed with no weapon in his hand, with a cop with a gun in his hand. This don’t make no sense at all.”

According to his mother, Janet, Baker was a student at Houston Community College and leaves behind a 7-year-old son, also named Jordan. 

Screenshot of Janet Baker speaking with ABC 13 news.

Screenshot of Janet Baker speaking with ABC 13 news while surrounded by friends and family.

“He’s not the way they portrayed him. He’s a father. He’s grandson. He’s a son. And he was just taken away,” Janet told ABC 13. As for the police report about what took place that night, “I don’t believe that’s what occurred,” said Janet. “I think that’s [the police chief] trying justify the outcome of what happened.”

“[Jordan] did everything right,” she added. “He’s a college student, he was working part time. He does everything for his son. His son is his life.”

Jordan Baker (ABC 13)

Jordan Baker (ABC 13)

It’s worth mentioning that the police justification for shooting Jordan—that he was wearing a hoodie just like the robbery suspects—is identical to George Zimmerman’s reasoning for murdering Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman claimed he was protecting his gated community from a potential thief following a series of burglaries and insisted that because Trayvon, a young black male in a hoodie, matched the description of the suspects, he had every right to hunt him down and kill him, an absurd and racist argument that only a bigot would support. But unlike Trayvon’s murder, Jordan’s is unlikely to elicit nationwide protests demanding Castro be brought to justice because, like most police shootings of unarmed black men, when the killer has a badge, racist rationalizations become far more acceptable. So we have to ask ourselves, why is it less reprehensible when a cop does it?

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54 Comments
  1. Mark Haywood #

    Please do a take on the Fullerton police beating a white homeless man to death and their acquittal last week. I would like to read what you have to say about it.

    January 26, 2014
    • I talk about it here http://raniakhalek.com/2014/01/19/west-va-mother-we-live-in-a-human-sacrifice-zone/

      January 27, 2014
      • Rania, I think he could have went and found that information his self. Just a troll attempting to deflect from the subject of your article. Great article by the way. To the troll, it’s not just-us anymore. Kind of pisses you off huh?

        January 28, 2014
        • ladystclaire #

          I agree, just some ignorant white person, who more than likely knew you had written about it. BTW, I agree with Montley, this is a great article.

          January 29, 2014
      • WOW!!! RANIA, YOU’RE A HOTTIE GIRL. LORD HAVE MERCY!!

        February 5, 2014
      • That link does not go to a story about an unarmed white person being killed.

        There is no doubt racism exists, and is widespread. for instance, where are all the media stories about the black men around the country trying to knock out white people with one punch?

        Racism goes every which way. A black person attacking a white person for no reason is just as bad as a white person attacking a black person for no reason. Until we start treating racism equally, it will never go away.

        February 9, 2014
        • Lacy #

          Black people cannot be racist – only white people can be racist. Study it.

          February 17, 2014
    • The issue is that black men are routinely murdered, while children, while unarmed, and while innocent and the perpetrators get off. On the other hand, when the victim is white, they don’t get off. That is the issue. The issue is not about evil doings by satanic cops- we know that- the issue is about injustice wrought at every turn of the hunted and hated.

      February 13, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on Flip It Right Side Up.

    January 26, 2014
  3. Reblogged this on byebyedemocracy and commented:
    Re: “But unlike Trayvon’s murder, Jordan’s is unlikely to elicit nationwide protests demanding Castro be brought to justice because, like most police shootings of unarmed black men, when the killer has a badge, racist rationalizations become far more acceptable. So we have to ask ourselves, why is it less reprehensible when a cop does it?”
    Are you kidding? It’s 100 times more reprehensible when a cop kills an unarmed man. Just like state sanctioned racism is 100 times worse than individual prejudices.

    January 26, 2014
    • Lacy #

      Trayvon Martins case would not have gotten media attention if his mother and father had not have kept screaming about it.

      February 17, 2014
  4. Emma #

    I truly do not understand why a piece like this is seemingly impossible to write without putting some kind of an inflammatory spin on it. Throwing in some ad hominems does not make the story any more impactful, it just shows the piece was likely written to get people riled up.

    January 27, 2014
    • Could you please state where these ad hominems are?

      January 27, 2014
  5. preoccupiedimagination #

    Reblogged this on PreOCCUPIED ImagiNATION.

    January 27, 2014
  6. Reblogged this on Flip It Right Side Up.

    January 27, 2014
  7. nikki #

    Ice Cube said it best…. Fuck the police fuck fuck fuck the police!!! Hell it seams like we’re hearin alot more about police shootings than gang shootings now a days??????!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2014
    • They are the ultimate gang, that’s why

      February 4, 2014
  8. BlackmanIsATarget #

    He wasn’t killed for wearing a hoodie(and neither was Trayvon) he was killed because he was Black. he could have been wearing a 3 piece suit and still would have looked suspicious to this cop. just like Trayvon would have looked suspicious to Zimmerman regardless of what he was wearing

    January 27, 2014
  9. James Jackson #

    Just your title makes one know that this is a biased spin piece based only on opinion. You might as well be Faux News.

    January 27, 2014
  10. Reblogged this on Penmanship His Mind.

    January 27, 2014
  11. I still do not understand why the police have non-lethal weapons, they always reach for the gun. I never hear well the police accidently pepper sprayed an individual that was innocent. They always end up shooting this person and then say, well he was unarmed, but he scared the officer. We are able to hunt the most dangerous animals on the planet, and capture them alive, and then put them in a zoo. Why is is that we can’t capture people alive.

    January 27, 2014
    • GOOD COMMENT!!!

      January 27, 2014
    • ladystclaire #

      Very good comment!

      January 29, 2014
  12. Bob Estt #

    Why are mini-mall security guards armed with guns? Are all security guards in Houston allowed to pursue armed robbery suspects or just the ones who are also off-duty cops? Sounds like murder to me. And maybe I’m a little out of touch with the current thinking of criminal masterminds, but how many dangerous robbers really pedal away on their bikes?

    January 27, 2014
  13. Rayne Poussard #

    I presume the certified 11 yr police officer was in uniform police hat, dress uniform, badge, etc.and not in casual clothes. I presume the victim stopped and got off his bicycle. I presume there might be evidence of a scuffle like punches, scratching both the victim and officer revealed in an investigation. I presume there is NO crime committed looking at business as you pass by peddling a bicycle. I also presume there is NO crime committed for wearing a hoodie. I have one too. I presume the victim was not likely a threat to the officer since there was no weapon brandished by the victim. Since the victim was off his bicycle and not displaying a weapon I presume the off duty security officer had a radio to communicate with the station and other patrol officers in the area he might have notified upon immediately encountering the victim. There are a lot of assumptions made here and in the article as written. I am also presuming the victim did not have a violent criminal rap sheet plus he was alone. It is too early to tell if the mall security made an error of judgment in assuming the victim was the criminal offender reported to him. The death is tragic to say the least. Investigators will be able to brief the public with their findings soon. It was supposedly a dark alley with inadequate lighting. Reconstruction of the crime scene will tell a very concise story from the point of getting off the bicycle, where the fatal shot was fired and traveled and where the victim was downed. We do not know if the officer had chemical mace or a club or stun gun nor do we know if the mall requires full time police officers when working the mall if a firearm is the only means they prescribe to stop shop lifters, car break ins, and other mall disturbances. In the meantime witnesses will be interviewed and the puzzle pieces fitted. If the officer made a grievous mistake he and the city will be liable.

    January 27, 2014
  14. Sounds like the perp got what he deserved… kudos to that brave Mexican cop. The world is a safer place today.

    January 28, 2014
    • How about this one:
      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/25/video-contradicts-police-statement-about-fatal-shooting-of-unarmed-suspect/

      January 28, 2014
    • Lacrea #

      Such an ignorant response. That’s like saying if a cop kills you thinking your a threat too his safety, you leave behind a family that loves you. “Yeah cool one less bigot in this world, I’m glad he killed you” so stupid of you smh stop being racist. Shits lame.

      February 9, 2014
  15. I think it’s time for the blacks to get out of the country, because everyone is sick of the racism crying. I’m sure we don’t know the whole entire story, but you people seem to get a thrill making up your own stories. If America is so racist and a disgusting place to live, than get the fuck out of here like Kanye West. Oh thats right, in other Countries you actually have to work for a living and not bum off others.

    January 28, 2014
    • citlali #

      You first, Euro-descendant trash. xoxo, a Native American

      February 3, 2014
    • Lena #

      Please, do us a favor and shut the f*ck up. You go back to you’re country being that this actually isn’t WHITES territory.

      February 4, 2014
  16. I forgot to mention that every other Country with the exception of Africa hates black people. They can’t stand their whining and crying about how they find it unfair to be born a certain skin tone and look different than the rest of us. Everyone is sick of the whining. Boo HOO, no one gets to pick their ethnicity. If I had a son, he wouldn’t be going around attacking bus drivers and neighborhood watchmen.

    January 28, 2014
    • Leah #

      You’re the type of punk that would never speak like this in public but feel big behind the protection of your computer screen, it’s past your bedtime. Btw all this havoc WHITES created with other countries, they are actually the most hated. See everyone that’s not considered WHITE are minorities, minorities who have been bullied by the majority so we hate YOU :) night night virgin. Oh yeah grow some hair on your chest first before you partake in grown up conversations.

      February 4, 2014
  17. Tsk,… You only have to read folk like Steve Lawrence to see what the real problem is. There are enough racists who believe in absolutes that they share with other racists to perpetuate the hate.
    Here it is 78% of 42 Million working blacks in this country,.. and his silly azz infers that blacks don’t work and bum off others.

    You want to solve these kinds of issues,.. start by getting rid of folk like Steve here by forcing them to crack a book.

    January 28, 2014
  18. Moron forgot to mention that percentage wise, black people are those ones abusing the welfare system in America, as shown on Liberal Bill Mahers show. Also, percentage wise, it shows HIspanics are the hardest workers in the USA. I’m not saying that because I am Hispanic, because I’m not HIspanic, but it’s a Fact. America has a become a country of lazy ass people, and percentage wise, Hispanics are the ones that don’t bum off the rest of us.

    January 28, 2014
  19. Ah,.. yes the skewed percentages where even though 4 times the number of whites could be bumming off the system,.. its really those lazy blacks with their twice as high unemployment numbers since the 60′s.
    Tsk,.. Racists stay stuck on stupid,.. I’m not here to school you, I’ll just say that you need to really do more than listen to your other dim witted buddies about what’s really going on. I suggest you start with more current stats than 2007, ( the overwhelming choice of racists everywhere,.. back when folk were guessing the numbers.) From their actually go look at the stats for whom the overwhelming user of the system is, by proportion and percentage,.. let me give you a hint: White Women. Finally ingage your common sense. if EVERY BLACK were off welfare tomorrow,.. your silly azz would see no difference,..
    You guys are just worse than pathetic.

    January 29, 2014
  20. Remember folks,.. these idiots are whining about blacks being a burden on the system on a story about an innocent black man being killed for wearing a hoodie.

    January 29, 2014
  21. At Emma, are you kidding me, people should get riled up about this and if you are not, then you are a person with nO heart what so ever. OH I forgot, the victims in all of these senseless murders are AA so why should a a bigoted, oh it’s not my problem concern you. People like you, should be a shamed of yourselves because, this stolen country has NOT changed and, with people like you in it, it never will. How did/do you feel about the case, where police beat a white man with to death, how do you feel about that? All of the school massacres committed by YES, WHITE KIDS every last one of them, how do you feel about that when the media publishes that and, who are they trying to rile then? ” some of YOU PEOPLE” just don’t like the truth coming out about the evil that some in your very own inflict on other races. People like you make me sick!

    January 29, 2014
  22. socialaction2014 #

    Reblogged this on Social Action.

    January 31, 2014
  23. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    February 1, 2014
  24. TY for keeping me informed! Reblog

    February 1, 2014
    • KKK BITCH!! KARMA’s A BITCH! and so are YOU!!

      February 4, 2014
  25. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Another one …… Black and hoodie: a deadly combo!

    February 1, 2014
    • Hey Dr.X, You sound like a RACIST KKK JACKASS!!! Psycho Bitch!!~LOL

      February 4, 2014
  26. My God! When will this end????

    February 1, 2014
    • A) We stop voting for the 2-party duopoly.
      B) A revolution.
      C) Massive protests and strikes.
      D) ?

      February 1, 2014
  27. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    Here in the US, life has no meaning. A human being can be abused, killed and then discarded like so much trash.

    February 1, 2014
  28. I’d like to see a little more detail in the “…he said there was a scuffle…” part before trying to make a conclusive judgement about this incident.

    February 3, 2014
  29. It isn’t less reprehensible, is my response to that. This country is out of control. These cops are out of control. I sorry for him, his family and most of all his son. I wish them all peace at this time.

    February 4, 2014
  30. Enough is Enough of this BullS%#T. This idiot has 11 years on the Force and haven’t learned shit, he has lost his mind in those years.

    February 4, 2014
  31. The name Officer Castro…..Hmm…I wonder what race he is? But it really doesn’t matter because a black kid is dead, shot by A Police Officer.

    February 4, 2014
  32. Reblogged this on ActivistPoster.

    February 6, 2014
  33. MelaniteX #

    There has been a epidemic of White people killing Black people in the last 2 years Reika Boyd, Renisha McBride, Trayvon, Jordan Davis , Two black men where shot and killed by a white man while inspecting property in a house they had newly moved into.

    For a log on all the White people that have shot and killed blacks lately look at this facebook group.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hidden-Colors-Movie/170829189629857?fref=ts

    February 19, 2014

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