Austin Delays Release Of Video In Killing Of Mike Ramos, Citing Police Failure To Follow Policy
The release of body camera footage in the police killing of Mike Ramos is being delayed, the city said Sunday. The Austin Police Department had planned to release the video Monday, but failed to follow proper procedure, according to City Manager Spencer Cronk.
Under the department's policy, the Office of Police Oversight is required to review and provide feedback on the production of the video, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“The City Manager has directed this video be withheld from public release until the Office of Police Oversight has had an opportunity to fully review the video and ensure that all requirements of the policy are appropriately met,” the city said in a statement.
The policy, finalized in May, says the police department has 60 days from the date of an incident to release footage. Ramos, a 42-year-old Black and Hispanic man, was killed on April 24, meaning the video should be released by Tuesday.
The policy also allows “relevant parties” to privately see the video before it is released. Ramos’ family was shown the video before the OPO was consulted, the city said.
A lawyer for Ramos' mother, Brenda Ramos, said she had no comment at this time.
In a press release sent Saturday, local organizations criticized APD for not following its own policy. The Austin Justice Coalition, Texas Fair Defense Project, Just Liberty and Texas Appleseed are demanding that Police Chief Brian Manley resign.
“We support the release of body camera footage,” the groups said in the press release. “However, we do not trust what Chief Manley is about to do by releasing a video without complying with his own agreed editing policies, and we object to retraumatizing the family and the community.”
The groups said they supported the policy only because it gave the OPO a role in the process of producing the video; they said the community would not trust APD to give the video “a neutral and fair edit.” The groups said they learned last week that the video was created without the participation of the Director of Police Oversight Farah Muscadin.
“We do not believe this video release violation around the Ramos case is an accident,” the groups said. “ONLY if Office of Police Oversight is granted full participation in the editing process will we believe that the outcome is likely to be fair to the family and the community.”
Officer Christopher Taylor shot and killed Ramos when he got into a car after officers shot at him with “less lethal” lead-pellet bags. Police were responding to a 911 call of people doing drugs and a man holding a gun in the parking lot of a Southeast Austin apartment complex.
APD later said it did not find a gun in or near Ramos’ car.
In a police report, Taylor said he feared Ramos was going to use the car as a weapon, though video shows the car heading away from the officer.
Audrey McGlinchy and Andrew Weber contributed to this report.