Michael Ramos made it clear he was surrendering when he thrust both arms in the air above his head to show he was not holding a weapon during a standoff outside his apartment Friday afternoon.
But one Austin cop had to escalate it by shooting him with a beanbag bullet, prompting Ramos to get into his car and drive away. Another cop then opened fire with a real gun, causing him to crash into a parked vehicle and die.
A witness video shows Ramos not only had his hands in the air before he was shot by the beanbag bullet, he was driving away from the cops as he made his getaway so they can’t claim the usual “he was trying to run us over” justification.
Austin police say they were responding to a call about a man doing drugs in a car who also had a gun but police have refused to say whether they found a gun. They say the car matched the description of a car involved in burglaries that had evaded them the day but they have not said whether it is the same car.
The video has gone viral and has led to protests and demands that Austin Police Chief Brian Manley be fired.
According to the Austin Chronicle:
On Friday, April 24, 42-year-old Michael Ramos died after being fired upon by APD officers as he attempted to leave the scene of an encounter at an apartment complex near Oltorf and Pleasant Valley in Southeast Austin. Bystander video shared on social media shows that one of the two officers engaging Ramos fired at him with a non-lethal beanbag – while his hands were in the air. Ramos then got back in his car and began driving away, at which point the second officer fired his rifle at Ramos. He was taken to the hospital where he died that evening.
As is standard procedure, an internal investigation has been opened into the actions taken by the two officers. At a press conference Monday, April 27, Manley announced that the Texas Rangers would assist in that investigation but did not explain how. An APD spokesperson says the Rangers have not participated in an APD Special Investigations Unit inquiry in the past eight years. In Dallas, however, the Rangers helped investigate the killing of Botham Jean by police officer Amber Guyger in 2018.
The officer who fired the beanbag, Mitchell Pieper, had three months of experience on the job, while the officer who fired the lethal shot, Christopher Taylor, had five years experience. On Monday, Manley confirmed that Taylor was one of the three officers who shot at and killed Mauris Nishanga DeSilva at a Downtown condo tower on July 31, 2019. The investigation into the DeSilva shooting is still pending.
The inquiry is expected to determine if Ramos was in possession of a gun. The initial 911 caller who alerted APD said that two people in Ramos’ vehicle were doing drugs, and that a gun was visible. The bystander video clearly shows Ramos without a weapon before being shot with the beanbag by Pieper, but not whether a gun was present in the car. APD has completed a search of the vehicle but will not release its findings “until all interviews are completed.”
“Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler in a statement. “There’s got to be a better way. “I’m very disturbed.”
Several of the cops there were wearing body cameras but no footage has been released yet. Watch the video below.