Austin PD releases long-awaited body camera footage of fatal Michael Ramos shooting

A man shows support for Michael Ramos, an unarmed Black man who was killed April 24 by Austin police, during the June 7 Justice for Them All protest and march. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
A man shows support for Michael Ramos, an unarmed Black man who was killed April 24 by Austin police, during the June 7 Justice for Them All protest and march. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

A man shows support for Michael Ramos, an unarmed Black man who was killed April 24 by Austin police, during the June 7 Justice for Them All protest and march. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

A 16-minute video released July 27 by the Austin Police Department features long-awaited body camera footage of the final moments of Michael Ramos, an unarmed, Black Austinite who was shot and killed by local police in Southeast Austin on April 24.

The video, which can be found at the bottom of this article, includes a brief outline of the incident by Lt. Scott Perry, a recording of the 911 call that spurred police response and footage of the responding police officers strategizing before they confront Ramos. The last eight-and-a-half minutes show the final standoff between officers and Ramos from two different camera angles: a dashboard camera and the body camera worn by Officer Christopher Taylor, who police said killed Ramos.

The footage shows Ramos in the parking lot of the Rosemont at Oak Valley Apartments. He exits his black and gold Toyota Prius with his hands up, following the screaming commands of several police officers with their guns drawn. Police do not explain to Ramos why they are there or what they want with him. Ramos asks several times for the officers to stop pointing their guns at him.

“Goddamn, man. Put the guns down, dog,” Ramos says as he exits his vehicle. “Y’all scaring the [expletive] out of me, dog. ... Man, don’t shoot, dog.”

Ramos then asks the officers what happened, why they are there and what they want from him.

“I’ll explain it in a second. I can’t explain it right now, Michael, but you need to turn around,” one officer responds.

“Man, what the [expletive] did I [expletive] do, man?” Ramos asks. “Man, what the [expletive] you all tripping on, dog? I ain’t got no [expletive] gun, dog. What the [expletive]? Put the [expletive] gun down, dog.”

Officer Mitchell Pieper then shoots a less-lethal bullet at Ramos’s waist. Ramos falls back into his car and shuts the door. Eleven seconds later, he attempts to flee in his vehicle. Two seconds from the moment the car moves, Officer Taylor fires the first of three consecutive shots at Ramos, killing him.

Ramos’s case, which remains under investigation, has been closely followed in the community. As protests against police brutality and systemic racism erupted throughout the country following the death of George Floyd in May, local demonstrations have demanded justice for Ramos and his family.

The incident has led some to call for the firing of Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. Officers Pieper and Taylor remain on the force.

The release of police body camera footage has been a flashpoint in the Ramos case. Advocacy groups and those representing Ramos have demanded release of the video since the incident occurred.

During that time, Police Chief Brian Manley implemented a new policy requiring body camera footage to be released within 60 days of a “critical incident” unless the footage would threaten the victim, witnesses, officers or the integrity of the investigation. Previously, the police department was not required to release body camera footage unless specifically requested.

Lawyers representing Officer Taylor filed and later withdrew an attempt to stop the release of the video. A few days ahead of June 30, when the police department was scheduled to release the video under its new 60-day policy, Manley announced it would be further delayed, saying that the police department failed to consult the APD Office of Police Oversight on the final cut of the video, effectively violating its own policy.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she would be bringing the case to a grand jury. However, after losing her re-election bid to challenger José Garza earlier this month, Moore said she will not move forward with the Ramos case and will instead allow Garza to handle it.

José Garza won the Democratic primary in a July 14 runoff election against Moore. Garza is expected to become the new DA after the November general election.

By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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