Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Austin Police officer charged with murder of Michael Ramos

Jamie Hwang

A Travis County grand jury issued an arrest warrant with a murder charge on Wednesday for Christopher Taylor, the Austin police officer who shot and killed Michael Ramos in April 2020, according to the Austin American-Statesman

The warrant for Taylor’s arrest was issued at 5:07 p.m. with a $100,000 bond, according to the Statesman. This also represents the first time in decades an Austin Police Department officer will face charges for an on-duty shooting, according to a tweet from Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski.

Taylor faces life in prison as a maximum sentence if convicted. At the time of publication, it is unknown whether Taylor is in custody.

Former District Attorney Margaret Moore delayed bringing the case to a grand jury in August after losing a runoff election to current District Attorney José Garza. Moore said she did so to allow Garza to pursue the case, and Garza has since said the case is one of his top priorities. 

Moore also delayed the prosecution of several other use-of-force cases, including the death of Javier Ambler in neighboring Williamson County in March 2019, when deputies tased Ambler to death after pulling him over for a traffic violation. His death was ruled a “justifiable homicide,” according to a report by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Ramos was killed at a southeast Austin apartment complex after a 911 call falsely claimed Ramos was in his car with a gun. Officers at the scene initially shot at Ramos with a bean bag gun. When Ramos tried to drive away from the less-lethal gunfire, Taylor shot and killed him.

Ramos was later found to not be in possession of any firearm in his car.

Michael’s mother, Brenda Ramos, filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin in December 2020, claiming her son’s killing was unjustified and indicated institutionally racist police culture.

Taylor was involved in and under investigation for another fatal shooting months prior to the death of Michael. He was not formally charged with murder.

Taylor has been on paid administrative leave from APD since he shot Michael last year. Another officer, Mitchell Pieper, was also placed on administrative leave for shooting Ramos with a less-lethal bean bag gun. 

APD released edited police footage of the encounter in July 2020, showing Taylor fatally shooting Michael. Prior to the release, Taylor requested the footage not be shown to the public due to his concern that the recording would inhibit his right to a fair trial if Taylor were to be charged. This request was later withdrawn, according to KVUE.

The fatal shooting of Michael was a focus of Black Lives Matter protests in Austin and across the nation over the summer. The BLM protests occurred in solidarity with those killed by excessive police force, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and to rally against police brutality against the Black community.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Tori Duff, News Editor
Tori is a journalism senior from Austin, Texas. Currently, she works as the Spring 2023 News Editor and has previously covered issues such as crime, politics, and breaking news as a Senior Reporter before working as an Associate News Editor. Tori is hoping she doesn't break her record of 10 cups of coffee in one day this semester.
Activate Search
Austin Police officer charged with murder of Michael Ramos