Austin Protesters Demand Justice After Police Killings In Minneapolis And At Home

May 30, 2020

A crowd protested outside Austin Police Department headquarters in downtown Austin on Friday night, demanding justice for George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on Monday, and Michael Ramos, who was killed by an Austin police officer last month.

Video from KVUE shows officers lined up in front of the building as the crowd chants, “I can’t breathe,” the words 46-year-old Floyd said repeatedly as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.  

Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the department earlier this week, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers have been fired.

“All we need is justice, that’s all we want,” said Joshua Brown, who was in the crowd of protesters. “We’re all human beings, why can’t we be treated like that.”

Officers lined the entrance to the building, and occasionally shot rubber pellets if the protesters got too close. Police made a few arrests. Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a row of police cars drove down the I-35 frontage road, as an officer directed the protesters to clear the street and stand on the sidewalk. At least three people were reportedly arrested.

The area around Austin Police headquarters is closed off as protesters demonstrate outside the building Friday.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The protest in Austin came hours after District Attorney Margaret Moore announced she would present the Ramos case to a grand jury.

“I reviewed the case today with my Civil Rights Director, and we believe the investigation has progressed to the point that we can properly make this announcement,” she said in a statement.

Forty-two-year-old Ramos, who was black and Hispanic, was shot to death April 24 by police responding to a complaint of a couple doing drugs outside a Southeast Austin apartment complex. Video uploaded to YouTube of the incident shows Ramos with his hands up before being shot at with a “bean bag” round. He then gets in a car and drives off as an Austin police officer shoots at him with a rifle.

Police said they did not find a weapon in the car or near the scene, despite a report that Ramos had a gun.  

In a police report, Christopher Taylor, the officer who shot Ramos, said he feared Ramos could use his car as a weapon.

Protesters clashed with police nationwide Friday in response to violence against black people. At least three people were reportedly arrested in Austin. Activists here planned another protest Saturday at noon.

Correction: An earlier headline on this story referred to police "shootings." It has been updated to reflect that George Floyd was not shot.