Texas Police Officer Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Michael Ramos

A mural honoring Michael Ramos, 42, is seen painted on the facade of La Mexicana Bakery on March 10, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Taylor was indicted by a Travis County grand jury for the murder of Ramos on March 10, 2021 the first time in decades an Austin police officer has faced a charge for an on-duty shooting.
A mural honoring Michael Ramos, 42, is seen painted on the facade of La Mexicana Bakery on March 10, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Taylor was indicted by a Travis County grand jury for the murder of Ramos on March 10, 2021 the first time in decades an Austin police officer has faced a charge for an on-duty shooting.
Photo: Montinique Monroe (Getty Images)

The April 2020 shooting death of Michael Ramos in Austin, Texas, was one of those events that remind us that “back the blue” enthusiasts don’t know what they’re talking about when they say that as long as we follow police instructions, we are sure to walk away from a police confrontation alive and unscathed. It’s also a reminder that the very act of calling 911 on Black people can be a violent act.

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NBC News reports that the officer who fatally shot Ramos, Christopher Taylor, was charged with murder Thursday morning and was released on $100,000 bond. As we previously reported, Taylor fired at Ramos as he was attempting to drive away from police, which body-cam footage appears to show he only did because another officer, Mitchell Pieper, fired a beanbag round at him while he was complying with the officers’ loud and aggressive orders and begging them not to shoot him.

All of this came after someone called 911 and reported that Ramos and a woman who he was with were “in the car smokin’ crack and cookin’ meth,” and that Ramos “has a gun to this lady.” No gun was found at the scene or in Ramos’ car.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza called Taylor’s indictment “a “significant step toward justice for the Ramos family and our community,” NBC reports.

“My heart continues to break for the Ramos family and we still have much work ahead of us, but we know that holding law enforcement accountable when they break the law is critical to restoring the trust of our community and to ensuring its safety,” Garza said.

Now, let’s look at this pitiful-ass cop-on-a-cross statement Taylor’s “disappointed but sadly not surprised” attorneys sent NBC:

“As early as July of last year, then-DA candidate Jose Garza had made up his mind that Officer Taylor committed a crime and went so far as to offer an implied promise to indict him several months before being elected District Attorney or having access to any case evidence,” Ken Ervin and Doug O’Connell said in the statement. “... We would remind Mr. Garza that his sworn duty is not to be an advocate for one party months before knowing the facts. It is to see that justice is done.”

“Today’s indictment is not justice; it is the fulfillment of a campaign talking point and yet more evidence of antipolice bias. We look forward to presenting the facts of this case, in their entirety, to a panel of citizens not behind closed doors and not under his exclusive control.”

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“Blue lives matter” advocates sure know how to lay it on thick, don’t they? Because only in their minds is deadly police violence a political issue. Only in their minds does any attempt at holding police officers accountable to the communities they serve pretty much always constitute “anti-police bias.”

One can only wonder if the attorneys’ “panel of citizens” will include any of the hundreds of protesters who have marched in Austin on Ramos’ behalf. Do they count as citizens? Because it sure doesn’t seem like Ramos was viewed as a citizen—or even viewed as a human being that day.

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Anyway, according to NBC, Taylor’s indictment represents the first time in Austin’s history that one of the city’s police officers has been charged with murder behind a use of force incident.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

DISCUSSION

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder

One can only wonder if the attorneys’ “panel of citizens” will include any of the hundreds of protesters who have marched in Austin on Ramos’ behalf.

I don’t know where your typical protestor falls in the growing trend of jury summons no-shows, but I’d be shocked if it didn’t come up in voir dire and they empaneled anyone who’d already made up their minds to that extent.