AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Justice Coalition, along with members of other community organizations, has renewed its calls for Austin Chief of Police Brian Manley to resign.
The organization said it believes Manley has been resistant to policing and criminal justice changes passed by the Austin City Council following anti-police violence protests.
According to a release on Friday also signed by members of Texas Fair Defense Project and Just Liberty, community organizations agreed to allow APD to release body camera footage of the deadly Mike Ramos shooting, as long as Director of the Office of Police Oversight Farah Muscadin had a role in the video’s edit.
An Austin man, Mike Ramos, was shot by an APD officer in late April and later died due to his injuries. He was found to be unarmed and was fleeing from police in a vehicle when he was shot.
“We learned this week that a video was created out of the Mike Ramos footage without the participation of Farah Muscadin,” said Austin Justice Coalition executive director Chas Moore on Friday. “We learned that Farah Muscadin would be ‘shown’ the video today and that it would be released on Monday at 8 a.m.”
The organizations accused Manley of violating his own policy, demanding the Office of Police Oversight be granted full participation in the editing process.
“So again, we restate our central concern that this community can no longer act in partnership with Chief Manley, Assistant Chief/Chief of Staff Troy Gay and Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano,” the release said. “There is almost ZERO community trust in the Austin Police Department due to leadership of the aforementioned. You must ask them to resign.”
The organizations are asking APD to release all dash cam video, body cam video and audio, as well as 911 call audio to the public, or allow the Office of Police Oversight to participate in any editing before release.
After some councilmembers also called for Manley to step down, it appeared after a public safety committee meeting that Manley would remain the Austin Police Chief.
"I look forward to continuing my service as the Chief of Police as we work to reimagine public safety," said Manley in a statement. "I, along with the other men and women of the Austin Police Department, am committed to providing the highest level of service to our community and we will both lead and embrace the change that lies ahead."
Last month, APD Officer Christopher Taylor, who is the subject of a criminal investigation related to the Ramos shooting – requested the court prohibit APD, the Travis County District Attorney's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety from releasing evidence to the public. He and his attorneys have since withdrawn that motion.
On Monday, April 27, Manley said video from the responding officers' body-worn cameras would be released at the earliest opportunity once doing so would not impact the integrity of the investigation.
APD has been criticized after videos of the shooting circulated online. Several city councilmembers, as well as Mayor Steve Adler, have expressed concern over the shooting and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Austin has also called for Manley's resignation.
Legal experts watching this investigation told KVUE that whether Ramos was armed at the moment of the shooting is not expected to be a central part of the case. Instead, the real issue is likely to be whether Officer Taylor – who fired the fatal shot – reasonably believed that Ramos' car was being used as a deadly weapon as he fired.
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