Austin officer cleared in 2019 use-of-force case resulting in 74-year-old’s death

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Officer Matthew Harmatuk has been cleared in a 2019 use-of-force case that resulted in the death of a 74-year-old man — after a review of the officer’s actions was ruled to be lawful.

The incident happened back in September 2019, when Fred Louis Babcock was shot and killed by an APD sniper after reportedly shooting at police during a standoff. APD said Babcock barricaded himself inside his central Austin apartment after his wife called police to report he’d hit her, put a gun in her face and threatened her life.

A Travis County DA’s Office release says APD officers were forced to enter the apartment after Babcock failed to follow orders to come out. Harmatuk fired a single shot, according to the release.

“Our office takes the work of presenting all facts and evidence to a grand jury very seriously, especially when a member of our community has died,” said Travis County District Attorney Garza. “In this case, an independent group of members of the Travis County community, after being sworn in to uphold their duties, heard the evidence and law and decided that Mr. Harmatuk’s conduct was lawful.”

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