The Austin Police Department has released bodycam footage and the 911 call from a fatal encounter between its officers and Michael Ramos, an unarmed 42-year-old man, in April of this year.
According to a report from Buzzfeed, police approached Ramos—who is Afro-Latino—in response to a 911 call that he was allegedly taking drugs with a woman in a vehicle parked at an apartment complex in Austin, Texas and was pointing a gun at her.
“They’re in the car smokin’ crack and cookin’ meth,” says the caller in an audio recording of the 911 call released by police on Monday. “And he has a gun, he has a gun to this lady.”
Video footage from the body cameras of the officers who responded to the call shows a clearly confused Ramos exiting his car and being given multiple shouted instructions:
“Michael Ramos, you’re going to listen to everything we say,” one officer yells.
After demonstrating he is unarmed by lifting his shirt and turning around in a circle as requested, Ramos tries to ascertain why the cops are accosting him.
“What’s going on?” he asks, as police continue to threaten that he will be ‘impacted.’
“What the fuck did I do, dog?” says Ramos, while looking increasingly—and understandably—frightened. “Why all y’all got guns?”
Despite saying he has no gun, within minutes Ramos is shot with a beanbag round, after which he gets back into his vehicle and attempts to drive off. An officer then fires three gunshots into the car, killing him.
That officer, Christopher Taylor, has since been put on administrative duty for the second time in less than a year for a fatal shooting.
Officer Christopher Taylor, who fired his rifle at Ramos as he drove away, and Officer Mitchell Pieper, who shot the beanbag round at Ramos, have both been placed on administrative duty. The department’s internal affairs unit is continuing to investigate the incident.
The criminal investigation is being handled by the Texas Rangers and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
A custodial death report submitted to the Texas Attorney General’s Office in May said Ramos died of multiple gunshot wounds. A narrative of the incident in the report states that Taylor fired his rifle because he feared Ramos would “use the Toyota Prius as a deadly weapon.”
The woman who was in the car with Ramos was not injured in the shooting and was not arrested or charged in relation to the incident.
As for the 911 call that set the whole thing in motion?
Though the caller can be heard in the audio recording released by APD saying very definitively that Ramos was holding a gun and pointing it at the woman in the car, police say they did not locate any firearms in the vehicle after they shot and killed him.
Maybe it would have helped if they had seen him as a human being and talked to him, rather than treating him like a thing to be commanded and killed.
“I’ll never forget the face he made when he was confused,” his mother, Brenda Ramos said to Fox 7 Austin. “That’s what’s staying on my mind and I feel him and that hurts.”
The Texas Rangers are conducting a criminal investigation into the incident, reports Buzzfeed. Ramos’ mother has called for Officer Christopher Taylor to be fired.