According to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, investigators found no firearm in the vehicle of a 42-year-old man who was shot and killed by police on April 24.
Michael Ramos was killed in a confrontation with officers at the Southeast Austin apartment complex. Officers arrived at the complex in response to a 911 call that reported a person was in the parking lot of the complex with a gun in his car.
Authorities said Ramos did not comply with officers’ orders. That’s when officer Mitchell Pieper shot him with a less-lethal bean bag round. Cell phone video of the encounter shows Ramos outside the car with his hands in the air when he is hit with the bean bag round.
After being hit with the bean bag ammunition Ramos jumps in his car and tries to leave the scene. That is when officer Christopher Taylor fired lethal rounds at the car, striking Ramos, who died of his injuries.
Manly said investigators executed a search warrant two days after the shooting and found no firearm inside or around Ramos’ vehicle.
“We went back and searched the area, we brought in K-9s that are trained to find firearms and searched the area, but there was no firearm located,” Manley said.
It’s still unclear why the 911 caller said multiple times that Ramos had a gun.
Manley said he still intends to release video from body-worn and dashboard cameras to the public but won’t do it at this time due to pending witness interviews and a court motion filed by Taylor’s attorneys to block the Police Department from releasing body-worn camera video of the shooting. The officer’s lawyers say in the motion that releasing the video would compromise his right to a fair trial. A hearing on the matter has not been set.
The shooting of Michael Ramos has sparked protests and calls for Chief Manley to resign. Mayor Steve Adler said he was “disturbed” by the video and that the city needs to conduct “a quick and complete assessment” of the incident.
“I’m very disturbed by the spectator’s video I’ve now seen, on which Mike Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead,” Adler said in a statement three days after the shooting.
Gavino Fernandez Jr., president of the East Austin chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the Police Department’s confirmation that there was no presence of a firearm at the scene was “old news.”
“Manley giving condolences to the family was an insult; that’s not what we need from him,” he said. “We need justice, and he’s not going to provide it.”
Fernandez said he was also not satisfied with the department’s decision to include Texas Rangers into the investigation, and said he would like to see federal oversight over the investigation.
“It’s not about training, it’s about changing the mindset and changing the leadership at the county and at APD,” Fernandez said.