AUSTIN, Texas — The video of Austin police officers shooting 42-year-old Micheal Ramos on Friday during an incident is concerning some community groups, like the Austin Justice Coalition (AJC).
Members of the AJC are calling the shooting "senseless" and believe some city leaders should be fired because of it, including Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, Austin Police Chief of Staff Troy Gay and Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano.
"It's one thing to ask for the officers that were involved in this, we honestly think they should be fired as well, but we have to start looking at the core issues of the police department," said Chas Moore with the AJC.
On the day of the shooting, Chief Manley said a 911 caller reported two people doing drugs in a vehicle in a parking lot around 6:30 p.m., with a man reportedly holding a gun.
Manley said a police helicopter and canine unit were dispatched in response to the incident. During a press conference on Monday, Manley confirmed the car was involved in a burglary and evading police in Austin on Thursday.
According to police, when officers approached Michael Ramos, he got out of the car but did not comply with officers' commands.
Manely said APD Officer Mitchell Pieper, who joined the department in January, fired shots from a less lethal "bean bag" shotgun. APD Officer Christopher Taylor, who's been with Austin police since December 2014, fired the fatal shot that killed Ramos.
"We decided to reach out to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Rangers division and ask for the Texas Rangers' help in this investigation," Manley said Monday. "I share your concerns and that's why we're going to the extent that we're going to."
"The brave men and women that wear their uniform have to be in tip top shape," Moore said.
Moore said Ramos was doing what he calls the "universal sign of retreat" and that Ramos had his hands up in the video when the shooting began.
"Mike is no longer with us because Austin police failed to deescalate the situation that, we all believe, definitely could've been avoided," Moore said. "Despite the many problems that arise in the police department, many of us have tried to be at the table with the Austin Police Department to make sure we can push our police department in the best, most safe direction."
The AJC believes by firing Manley, Gay and Arellano, Ramos and his family will have justice and the police department will improve trust with communities of color.
Manley said the body camera footage from the incident will be released soon, when doing so will not impact the integrity of the investigation.
The Greater Austin Crime Commission issued the following statement regarding the demand to remove senior public safety officials:
“Rather than rushing to judgment, the Greater Austin Crime Commission urges the Austin City Council to support an expeditious and thorough investigation of the officer-involved shooting last Friday. A concerned community deserves all the relevant facts about the incident. The demand to remove public safety officials without an investigation exploits a tragedy to advance political objectives. In addition to investigations by the District Attorney and Office of Police Oversight, the Greater Austin Crime Commission supports Chief Brian Manley’s request for assistance from the Texas Rangers. The Greater Austin Crime Commission and its board of business and community leaders have full confidence in Chief Brian Manley, public safety leaders, and the dedicated officers and staff of the Austin Police Department.”
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