Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Murder trial begins this week in the police killing of Mike Ramos

A person rests her hand against a large mural of a person's face, while another woman holding the hand of a child comforts her.
Patricia Lim
Brenda Ramos places her hand on a mural of her son, Mike, who was fatally shot by an Austin police officer in 2020.

The murder trial of Christopher Taylor, an Austin police officer who fatally shot Mike Ramos in 2020, begins today.

Taylor was one of six police officers who responded to a call about reported drug use at an apartment complex in Southeast Austin in April 2020. Police approached Ramos in the parking lot. He was fatally shot by Taylor when he attempted to flee. Ramos was unarmed.

Taylor's attorneys have maintained he followed APD's use-of-force guidelines. Taylor is also facing a murder charge in another on-duty shooting from 2019.

The Ramos case sparked outrage. His name was invoked in racial justice protests that summer in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. The uproar pushed the Austin City Council to cut and reallocate the city's police budget and retool its training academy.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza, who ran on a platform to investigate and prosecute cases of police misconduct, pursued Taylor's indictment in 2021. His predecessor, Margaret Moore, had declined to take the case before a grand jury.

The trial marks a rarity in Travis County and, arguably, the country writ large, as police officers are seldom indicted for on-duty shootings.

Ramos' mother, Brenda Ramos, has filed a lawsuit in federal court over her son's killing.

Taylor's trial begins Monday at 9 a.m. at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center downtown.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
Related Content