AUSTIN, Texas - An Austin police officer has been indicted in the death of Michael Ramos last April.
A Travis County grand jury has indicted APD Officer Christopher Taylor, who now faces a murder charge. The Travis County Sheriff's Office confirmed to FOX 7 Austin that an arrest warrant has been issued for Taylor.
In January, Travis County DA José Garza announced that he intended to present the officer-involved shooting cases of Michael Ramos and Javier Ambler to a grand jury before the expiration of its term at the end of March.
Ken Ervin and Doug O'Connell, Taylor's attorneys, issued a statement late Wednesday night, saying they're disappointed, but not surprised:
"We are disappointed but sadly not surprised at this indictment. As early as July of last year, then-DA candidate Jose Garza had made up his mind that Officer Taylor committed a crime and went so far as to offer an implied promise to indict him several months before being elected District Attorney or having access to any case evidence:
'Right now my focus is on the families. My heart breaks for the Ramos and Ambler families as they continue to wait for justice. I look forward to fighting for justice for them. It’s going to be one of my highest priorities.'
We would remind Mr. Garza that his sworn duty is not to be an advocate for one party months before knowing the facts. It is to see that justice is done. Today’s indictment is not justice; it is the fulfillment of a campaign talking point and yet more evidence of antipolice bias. We look forward to presenting the facts of this case, in their entirety, to a panel of citizens not behind closed doors and not under his exclusive control."
Speaking to FOX 7 following the indictment, Brenda Ramos said, "It was a long road. Way too long. It would have been a year next month already, that's too long."
Ramos added, "Well, when you murder somebody that's what happens. It shouldn't happen to nobody. There were other ways he could have gone on the ground. I just can't accept what they did."
Asked what she would say to Taylor, Ramos said, "I have nothing to say. I just want to bring my son back. There's nothing no one can do. My son is gone."
Ramos is hoping to bring about positive change in the wake of her son’s death. As it turns out, she was planning to introduce a new bill Thursday called the Mike Ramos Act. If passed, it would require body cam video to be released in shootings like this, beef up de-escalation training for officers, and give the state more power to take away an officer’s license.
"I want the bill on behalf of my son so this won't happen to nobody. Our kids are our future. Soldiers murder and kill. Police are supposed to protect us. Can't trust it anymore," said Ramos.
Brenda Ramos will be officially filing the Mike Ramos Act along with State Senator Sarah Eckhardt Thursday. They will be holding a virtual press conference at 12:30 PM.
WHO IS MIKE RAMOS?
Mike Ramos was shot and killed during an officer-involved shooting by Taylor, who was previously under investigation for shooting another man months prior.
In April 2020, APD got a call about a man in a car with a gun possibly doing drugs. The man was 41-year-old Ramos, who was then shot and killed by Taylor on scene. APD later disclosed Ramos was unarmed.
The shooting occurred in a parking lot at the Rosemont at Oak Valley apartments. A cell phone video shared with FOX 7 Austin shows Ramos with his hands up, showing his waist. He is standing on the drivers-side of a car, telling police he is unarmed.
Police yell commands at Ramos before Ramos is shot once with a bean bag. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says the less-lethal weapon was fired by rookie Austin Police Officer Mitchell Pieper.
Ramos then gets into a car and attempts to drive away when Taylor shoots him three times with a rifle. Manley confirmed that Taylor was one of two officers who fired a lethal weapon, killing a man experiencing a mental health crisis in downtown Austin in July 2019.
Just 4 months before the Ramos shooting, attorneys filed a petition calling for a use-of-force investigation of all three officers involved in the death of DeSilva. The petition called for evidence to be released.