On Monday, Austin, Texas, police fatally shot a black teen who was reportedly naked and unarmed.
According to The Statesman, police were called on a report of a man chasing someone through an apartment complex. When Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman, who is also black, arrived on the scene, he encountered 17-year-old David Joseph. Austin Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley told the newspaper that within seconds of the confrontation, Freeman opened fire, killing David.
It is unclear what happened during the confrontation, but the newspaper reported that according to several sources, not only was the teen naked at the time of the incident, but he didn’t have a weapon. Police have not released much information regarding the shooting, but the newspaper reports that the proximity between the teen and the officer will be key in determining whether lethal force was justified, since officers have several nonlethal weapons, including stun guns.
“Once again, it is very clear that this policy of response to resistance is not being enforced,” Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP, told The Statesman. “They need to rethink this whole approach, especially if there might be mental illness issues.”
Jim Harrington, director and founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, told The Statesman: “It is almost incomprehensible that a young, naked man would be considered dangerous such that a police officer would kill him.” The social advocacy group is calling for “a full, fair and open investigation” of the shooting.
“This is the pattern that led to the U.S. Department of Justice investigation a few years back, and it appears that the pattern of police shootings continues,” he said. “We intend to pursue this matter with the Department of Justice once more.”
Read more at The Statesman.