‘Plaintiff gets nothing’: Verdict released in lawsuit against Austin officers who shot man

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man suing the Austin Police Department after officers shot him multiple times in 2017 will receive nothing from the APD officers and the City of Austin.

The verdict in the case of Lawrence Parrish, who was shot seven times by four APD officers in 2017, came down Tuesday. Parrish’s injuries resulted in more than a dozen surgeries and having to amputate a finger.

His case was heard in the United States District Court Western District of Texas. He was suing the city of Austin along with the four APD officers involved in his case, Dane O’Neill, Paul Bianchi, Jordan Wagstaff and Marcos Johnson.

Parrish showed KXAN his bullet wounds Tuesday after the jury announced its verdict.

“I’ve lost everything,” Parrish said. “I’ve lost a tooth. I’ve got a bullet by my heart, a bullet by my lung. Everyday, I wake up crying. Everyday, I wake up suffering. I’m still starving. I’m homeless, financially messed up, mentally messed up.

Parrish’s case began one night in April 2017, when police say his roommate called police to their apartment on Parliament Drive. The roommate told police Parrish appeared to be on drugs and in an “altered mental state.”

Back in 2017, an affidavit said the roommate told police that earlier that day, Parrish was saying he’d been shot in the chest by police and was yelling and cursing as if he was arguing with an officer. According to the affidavit, the woman left the apartment with her children due to the strange behavior, and when she came back, she called police because she found Parrish in the street with a gun near him.

According to the investigation, Parrish was arguing with a friend at that time.

By the time officers arrived, Parrish had gone back inside his apartment. Then-interim Police Chief Brian Manley said later that night that Parrish later came out and fired at officers, causing them to fire back.

But, several days later, the investigation revealed Parrish actually had not fired his weapon.

Parrish was originally charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, but that charge was later dropped. Parrish pled guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in relation to the argument he was having with his friend.

The four officers who shot Parrish were sent back to regular duty weeks after the April 2017 incident.

After shooting Parrish, Officer O’Neill was later involved in the police shooting involving Isaiah Hutchinson, whose family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against APD. All officers in that case were cleared by a Travis County grand jury. The wrongful death lawsuit is ongoing.

Following Parrish’s case, Officer Wagstaff was also indefinitely suspended from the department for violating police rules and regulations through an external relationship with a stalking victim.

Parrish says he doesn’t feel he got justice in his case. He says he and others in the Black community continue to fear how they’ll be treated by police.

“We’re scared to call the police. We’re scared to get any help,” Parrish said. “I don’t think we are safe at all to call the police at any means necessary to come at any time to help us. We have to worry about police coming to kill us in our own house.”

After the jury made its verdict, a city of Austin spokesperson sent KXAN a statement saying, “We thank the Judge and jury for their careful consideration of the evidence and testimony that led to today’s outcome.”

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