AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mother of Mike Ramos, a man who was shot and killed by an Austin Police Department officer earlier this year, has filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit.
Ramos was shot and killed by Officer Christopher Taylor in April.
His mother Brenda Ramos sues the City of Austin and Taylor in the lawsuit, which claims Taylor shot Mike without justification.
“..any competent police officer would have known that shooting a suspect in the head because he was driving away from police and bystanders—toward a dead-end blocked by dumpsters and a building—was a gross civil rights violation,” the lawsuit reads.
Police were initially responding to a report of a man with a gun, but no gun was ever found. The lawsuit says audio recordings show the multiple officers on scene were giving “chaotic, conflicting shouts” to Mike during their encounter.
The lawsuit also claims the city fostered an “institutionally racist and aggressive policing culture,” citing a Center for Policing Equity study that shows “Austin police officers’ use of force in those [Black and Hispanic] communities was disproportionate and unjustified.”
Brenda is asking for a jury trial and suing for damages like the cost of her only son’s funeral and burial.
As for the criminal investigation involving Ramos’ death, outgoing Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore delayed taking the case to a grand jury – leaving it to be handled by her successor José Garza, who will officially step into that role on Jan. 1.
After his win in the November election, Garza told KXAN “one of the first cases” his office would address will be the Ramos case. He vowed to take it and other accusations of police misconduct before a grand jury.
Just days before taking office, Garza reiterated the Ramos case was still a top priority for him.
While trials are on hold across the state to due the pandemic, he noted grand juries are being convened. Garza said he does not expect COVID-19 to “hinder” their ability to “move this case forward in the short term.”