Austin, TX — A video of a police killing in Austin, Texas last month — which witnesses referred to as a murder — was reportedly so disturbing that even the city’s mayor was forced to speak out about it. In the video, a man is seen trying to surrender to police with his hands in the air, moments later, he’d be killed by a police officer firing his AR-15. Now, police are admitting that 42-year-old Michael Ramos had no gun.
The fact that Ramos had no gun is extremely important as police based their entire response of multiple units, aggressive tactics, bean bag rounds, and eventual execution — all based on the falsehood that Ramos had a gun.
“We went back and searched the area, we brought in K-9s that are trained to find firearms and searched the area, but there was no firearm located,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed on Monday.
“Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead. There’s got to be a better way,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement at the time. “I’m very disturbed.”
According to police, they responded to a 911 call in April about a man possibly doing drugs in an apartment parking lot. Manley said officers were investigating reports of people in a car, including an armed man, doing drugs when they encountered Ramos.
Whether or not that man mentioned in the 911 call was Ramos, remains unclear.
Ramos, a 42-year-old Hispanic man was seen in the video exiting the car when ordered by police. As he gets out, he raises his shirt to show officers that he is unarmed. He is seen in the brief video with his hands in the air trying to talk to police.
“I’ve seen the videos that are on social media, and I understand the concern that those have brought forward in our community,” Manley said.
The entire time, Ramos had his hands in the air. He never attempted to get back in the vehicle and had proven to cops that he was unarmed. Ramos was merely talking with the officers, asking them why they were stopping him. Then, without warning, while Ramos still had his hands in the air, a rookie cop opened fire with a beanbag round.
This likely sent Ramos into panic, thinking he was about to be killed. Sadly, he would be right.
After being shot with a beanbag round for no apparent reason, Ramos tried to get away from the threat. He jumps in the car and attempts to drive off. As he attempts to flee, however, another cop, officer Christopher Taylor opens fire with an AR-15, dumping three rounds into the fleeing man, who was only suspected of being a person of interest in an alleged crime.
The shots killed Ramos, who then crashed his car.
When asked if a weapon was found in the car or on Ramos person, the police chief refused to answer, stating only that: “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.”
When TFTP covered the original story, we predicted, correctly, that Ramos was not armed, which is why police responded in this manner.
Gavino Fernandez Jr., president of the East Austin chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, agreed, according to the Statesmen, saying the Police Department’s confirmation that there was no presence of a firearm at the scene was “old news.”
“Manley giving condolences to the family was an insult; that’s not what we need from him,” he said. “We need justice, and he’s not going to provide it.”
As for the mayor, he says there are many questions still unanswered and the cases of police brutality are apparently piling up.
“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.”
According to the Statesman, Manley said he still intends to release video from body-worn and dashboard cameras to the public but won’t do it at this time due to pending witness interviews and a court motion filed by Taylor’s attorneys to block the Police Department from releasing body-worn camera video of the shooting. The officer’s lawyers say in the motion that releasing the video would compromise his right to a fair trial. A hearing on the matter has not been set.
After the killing, protesters took to the scene of the shooting, chanting, “APD are murderers.”
While we can’t speak to all the officers, it appears from the video that at least one officer on the APD has committed murder.
As the video shows, after he was killed, the woman filming was warned by a male companion off camera not to approach the police.
“If they just shot him for no reason, don’t go near them, because they might shoot you too,” he said.
This is the state of policing in America.
Below is the video and though it is disturbing, had it not existed, this story would likely be playing out far differently as police may never have admitted that Ramos was unarmed.