AUSTIN, TX (AP) — A murder warrant was issued Wednesday for the arrest of a Texas police officer involved in shooting an unarmed drug suspect.
Austin police Officer Christopher Taylor is accused in the warrant of murder in the April 24 shooting death of Michael Ramos.
Taylor, who wasn’t immediately in custody, has been on leave from the Austin Police Department since the shooting and has not faced a disciplinary hearing.
At the time of the shooting, Police Chief Brian Manley said officers were investigating reports of people in a car, including an armed man, doing drugs when they encountered Ramos in an apartment complex parking lot in southeast Austin.
Manley said officers went to an apartment complex parking lot. Ramos got out of the car with his hands up and his shirt raised as if to show he had no gun in his waistband, but then ignored officers’ orders to remain outside the car and was shot first with a beanbag. When Ramos got back into the car and started to drive away, Taylor shot him with a rifle.
A search of the car failed to turn up a gun, police said later. The entire episode was captured on police video.
Black and Hispanic community activists reacted to the shooting with outrage, protest demonstrations and calls for Manley to resign. Demonstrators in Austin invoked Ramos’ name when they took to the streets to protest the May killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler called the shooting “disturbing” after viewing a video captured by a bystander. Adler said Ramos did not appear to pose a threat to police.
At the time of the incident, Taylor had been with the department for five years.
Last August, the Austin City Council voted to cut the department’s budget by one-third, sparking a severe backlash by Gov. Greg Abbott and other conservative state officials.
Last month, Manley announced his retirement after 30 years with the department.