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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Man killed by APD officer was unarmed, public safety commissioner says

Commissioner Chris Harris said in a meeting Monday afternoon that Michael Ramos, who was shot and killed by an APD officer in April, was unarmed.

AUSTIN, Texas — Michael Ramos, a 42-year-old shot and killed by APD officer Christopher Taylor in late April, was reportedly unarmed, according to a public safety commissioner. 

On the evening of Friday, April 24, a 911 call came in reporting two people were using drugs in a vehicle in a parking lot near East Oltorf Street and South Pleasant Valley Road in southeast Austin. The call stated that one man was reportedly holding a gun. Police believed the vehicle could have been involved in a burglary and evading police the day before, which APD Chief Brian Manley later confirmed.

Officers arrived on the scene and when they approached Ramos, police said he got out of the car but did not comply with officers' commands. APD Officer Mitchell Pieper fired from a less-lethal "bean bag" shotgun and Taylor then fired the fatal shot from his rifle. Ramos was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Commissioner Chris Harris said in a public meeting Monday afternoon that Ramos was unarmed.

"Those issues really came to a head very tragically a week ago, last Friday, where we see a new officer, fresh out of the force, escalate an encounter -- based on the cell phone video we currently have access to -- and then another officer fire into a moving vehicle and kill someone, who what we know now was unarmed and was no threat to anyone," said Harris when speaking on Item 5, which was regarding the investigation into allegations against the APD.

APD has been criticized after videos of the shooting circulated online. Several city council members, as well as Mayor Steve Adler, have expressed concern over the shooting and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Austin has called for Manley's resignation. The Austin Justice Coalition is calling for Manley, Austin Police Chief of Staff Troy Gay and Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano to be fired.

A motion has also been filed by Taylor to not release the body cam footage because he says he believes it will harm his right to a fair trial.

The Austin Police Department gave KVUE the following statement: 

 “It’s important to note that we still have several people that have not yet been interviewed, and we do not want to influence someone who has not yet been interviewed.”

Austin Police Association Ken Casaday released the following statement about Harris' comment: 

“The Austin Police Association is disappointed in Chris Harris’s premature revelation that there was no gun found in Ramos’s vehicle. The release of such information is not helpful and begs to question the ethics of one of our Public Safety Commissioners.”

Regarding Ramos being unarmed, Davis later tweeted that he does not have "definitive knowledge about that & only meant to imply that it appeared that he was."

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