Austin mayor ‘disturbed’ by fatal police shooting of man
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The mayor of Austin, Texas, said Monday that he’s “disturbed” by a video he has seen of the fatal shooting of a man by an Austin police officer as the man drove away from police.
“Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead. There’s got to be a better way,” Adler said in a statement. “I’m very disturbed.”
Ramos, 42, and described as Hispanic was fatally shot by an officer with a rifle on Friday as he drove away from officers after first being shot with a beanbag by another officer, Police Chief Brian Manley said.
The shooting prompted Gavino Fernandez Jr., president of the East Austin chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, to call for Manley’s resignation.
Manley on Monday offered condolences to Ramos’ family and said he also has watched videos of the shooting.
“This is a trying time for our community, I share your concerns,” Manley said.
Police are investigating the shooting with the district attorney and other agencies, Manley said.
Manley said officers were investigating reports of people in a car, including an armed man, doing drugs when they encountered Ramos.
Manley said Ramos got out of the car with his hands up and his shirt raised as if to show he had no gun in his waistband, but then ignored officer’s orders to remain outside the car and was shot first with a beanbag, then as he drove away he was shot with a rifle by Officer Christopher Taylor.
Manley said the car has been searched, but declined to say whether a gun has been found. A police spokesperson did not immediately return a phone call Monday to clarify Taylor’s status.
“We have many witnesses that have yet to be interviewed and I do not want to put out information that they may not be aware of that would influence or change a statement that they may make,” Manley said.
Adler said there are many questions still unanswered.
“We must respond to this moment and also to the fear, anxiety and lack of confidence expressed by communities of color,” Adler said. “This incident happens against the backdrop of investigations and assessments of the department that must also be full, transparent, concluded and reported.”
Manley said that a full and transparent investigation is why he asked other agencies for assistance.
Earlier this month, San Antonio lawyer Lisa Tatum, who was hired by the city to investigate anonymous allegations of racist texts by a now retired Austin assistant police chief reported that she found no evidence of racist comments, but said she did find cultural issues of racial bias that should be addressed by the police department.
Austin is Texas’ state capital with a population of about 790,000 and is home to the University of Texas’ flagship campus.