A newly released video reveals Austin police shooting an unarmed man on April 24. Michael Ramos, 42, is seen in the video saying he is unarmed while holding his hands above his head. Police soon open fire and killed him.
The video was released just two days after white, armed protestor Garrett Foster was shot and killed while demonstrating against police brutality. He was the victim of an armed driver who has not yet been named.
Pulling Out of a Parking Space
Ramos, who was Black and Latinx, was pulling out of a parking space. The video shows him turning the vehicle right, but then stopping as police officers followed his car. Their rifles were pointed right at him as the driver.
Officers approach Ramos inside his car. He is told to step out of the vehicle with his hands up, which he does. An officer tells Ramos to lift up his shirt and turn around, then walk towards him. The officer warns that Ramos will “get impacted” if he does not do as told.
Ramos does as the officer says, but repeatedly asks what he has done. Ramos then says to the officer he “ain’t got no f… gun, dog.” Seconds later, an officer fires a bag filled with lead pellets at him as Ramos asks him not to shoot. This type of munition is “less lethal,” as per the police department.
Ramos gets into the car with the woman and starts to drive off. Officer Christopher Taylor fires at the vehicle three times, killing Ramos. The woman is uninjured.
Taylor is later placed on administrative leave and is currently under administrative, and criminal investigation. The Texas Rangers and the Travis County District Attorney’s office are in charge of the criminal investigation and the Austin Police Department is overseeing the administrative component.
A Series of Calls
Ramos never learned why the police were after him. They responded to a 911 call in which a person alleges Ramos and a woman are using drugs in a vehicle in the parking lot. The caller says Ramos is wearing a white shirt and pointing a gun at the woman.
When the police surrounded him minutes later, Ramos was wearing a red shirt. Police officers never found a gun.
Not the First Incident
This was not the first time Taylor was placed on administrative leave due to a fatal shooting. Just nine months earlier, he was one of the officers who shot a 46-year-old man wielding a knife while having an obvious mental breakdown.
A city investigation of the shooting allowed Taylor back on the job, but concluded that the Austin Police “need more support from mental health professionals when they respond to calls involving people who are having mental health crises.”
A Deadly Toyota Prius
Officers told investigators that Ramos was shot because they believed he was going to use his Toyota Prius as a deadly weapon.
Calls for Justice
In Austin, calls for justice for police brutality victims featured not only George Floyd but also Michael Ramos. A man who obeyed the police until a less-lethal weapon was fired at him. A man who dies seconds later when the really lethal weapons kick in.
The Mike Ramos Brigade was formed to stand up for Ramos and his family and all police brutality victims. Demonstrations in Austin are ongoing.
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