Police Officer Who Shot Unarmed and Naked Teen Is Fired by Austin, Texas, Police Department

Austin Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman, who shot and killed 17-year-old David Joseph in February, has been fired.

Geoffrey Freeman and David Joseph
Geoffrey Freeman and David Joseph Video Screenshot

Geoffrey Freeman, an Austin, Texas, police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old, has been fired by the Austin Police Department. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday that Freeman’s actions (pdf) violated department policy, according to the Associated Press.

In February, Freeman shot and killed 17-year-old David Joseph after responding to a call about a man acting aggressively in a Northeast Austin neighborhood. Upon arrival, Freeman came in contact with Joseph, who was naked and unarmed. According to police, Joseph ignored the officer’s commands and charged at Freeman, who in return shot him. 

According to autopsy reports, Joseph was running with his left arm across his chest and was hit by two bullets, one in his heart and one that grazed his hand and then hit his leg. The shots were fired between 2 and 3 feet away. Toxicology reports showed that Joseph had marijuana, promethazine and Xanax in his system.

Not everyone agrees that Freeman should have been fired. According to Fox 7, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas released a statement Monday against the firing:

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas has put Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo on notice that it will appeal the unjust and politically motivated firing of veteran Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman.

“Rather than taking the time needed to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the tragic events of Feb. 8, 2016, Chief Acevedo instead chose to send signals to the news media, political activists, rank-and-file police officers and even a cadet class that he intended to fire Officer Freeman no matter what the facts in the case might show,” said CLEAT President Todd Harrison, an Austin police sergeant.

“CLEAT will use the resources necessary to ensure that Officer Freeman’s good name is restored and that he will be back to work  serving the community he’s called home all of his life,” said Charley Wilkison, Executive Director of CLEAT.

Freeman’s case is now being investigated by prosecutors, who plan to present the case to a grand jury for possible criminal charges.

Read more at the Associated Press and Fox 7.