AUSTIN (KXAN) — An indictment against Austin police officer Nicholas Gebhart stemming from the May 2020 downtown Austin protests was dismissed Friday afternoon.

Nicholas Gebhart was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant, in the case of an injured teenager named Brad Ayala.

Gebhart’s attorney Doug O’Connell confirmed the dismissal to KXAN. This story will be updated with additional comment when available.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said new evidence and information “significantly complicated” the ability of his office to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

At a press conference Friday, Garza refused to offer further details about what kind of evidence came to light, other than that it would have “significant consequences” for their ability to prove the case, but added that was not the only factor influencing their decision to dismiss the case.

Dexter Gilford, the head of the Civil Rights Division, said Ayala no longer wanted the DA’s office to pursue the case.

“Mr. Ayala has communicated to our office that he no longer wishes our office to proceed with this criminal case. In every case, our office strives to center the voice of the victim in our deliberations on the most appropriate resolution for a criminal case,” Gilford said.

The DA also noted that, “to his knowledge,” Gebhart was the only officer indicted in Ayala’s case.

KXAN is working to find contact information for Ayala’s attorney.

Garza refused to go so far as to say his office no longer believes a crime was committed in this case, but he emphasized this decision and the new evidence is specific to this case and has no bearing on other cases of officers indicted from actions during the protests.

Additionally, he believes there could be “some legal barriers” preventing his office from sharing more information about this evidence.

The indictment said Gebhart shot Ayala, during a racial injustice protest near Interstate 35. Ayala was hit in the head with a “less-lethal” bean bag round, former APD Chief Brian Manley said after the incident. Garza said a “deadly weapon” was used, “specifically a modified shotgun.”

In March 2022, Austin City Council approved the settlement of a personal injury claim by Brad Levi Ayala for $2.95 million and direct the City Manager to return to Council with the necessary resolution and ordinance to finance the settlement.

An official attorney statement was released after the case was dismissed. Read that statement below:

We find it difficult to be thankful Mr. Garza has only now decided to dismiss all criminal
charges against Officer Gebhart.
We’re also unaware of any “new evidence” in the case that allegedly prompted today’s
dismissal. If Mr. Garza is referring to Brad Ayala’s desire for the charges to be dropped,
that’s been known for months. And if he’s referring to footage showing Mr. Ayala
throwing rocks at police seconds before he was impacted with a beanbag, that’s been in
existence since May of 2020.
If Mr. Garza is referring to other “new evidence,” this is equally disturbing since it does
not appear we have been provided the evidence as required by law.
If Mr. Garza is referring to other “new evidence,” this is equally disturbing since it does
not appear we have been provided the evidence as required by law.
We predict more of our police officer cases will be dismissed, and Mr. Garza will again
refuse to tell the public the real reasons.

-Ken Ervin & Doug O’Connell
Attorneys for APD Officer Gebhart