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Michael Brent Ramos Dies at Hands of Austin, Texas Police

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Montreal CA 14 August 2016 Back of the bulletproof vest of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant

The Austin, Texas police department filed a custodial death report with the Attorney General of Texas regarding the death of Michael Brent Ramos.  Mr. Ramos was 42 years old at the time of his death.  Information in this post was obtained from that report, and we make no allegation of any wrongdoing against anyone.  Mr. Ramos’s death has, however, become controversial. 

The report summary reads, in its entirety:

On April 24th, 2020, at approximately 6:31pm, Austin Police communications received a 911 call indicating a male and female were sitting in a gold Toyota Prius at 2601 South Pleasant Valley Road. According to the caller, the subjects appeared to be using narcotics. As officers responded to the area, an update to the call indicated the male subject had a gun. Officers requested the assistance of Air 1 (helicopter) and K-9, but they were not immediately available. Before arriving at the scene, officers stopped briefly to discuss their response to the area and create a plan before attempting to approach the subjects in the vehicle. After formulating a course of action, officers approached the area in marked patrol units. Officers strategically parked their patrol vehicles, effectively blocking the exit and mitigating the risk of flight. Officers observed the Toyota Prius backed into a parking spot in the apartment complex parking lot near the one-way entrance/exit. Officers immediately commanded both subjects to show their hands as police communications identified the nature of the call as “gun urgent.” Officers continued to give verbal commands as both the male and female exited the vehicle. Officers commanded the male subject to lift his shirt and turn around in a circle. The male subject initially complied with commands but eventually became non-compliant and verbally confrontational. The male subject began asking why officers had guns pointed at him and asked officers to put their weapons away. The male subject walked back toward the driver’s door of the Toyota Prius and remained non-compliant and verbally confrontational. The male refused verbal commands from officers to step forward and away from the driver’s door. Due to the nature of the call and the 911 caller’s information, officers had reason to believe the Toyota Prius could contain a gun. Due to the male subject’s noncompliance and ability to possibly access a gun inside the vehicle or on his person, officers decided to deploy a less-lethal munition to gain compliance. The less-lethal munition struck the front of the male subject on the left side of his body but did not prove to be effective as the male subject quickly entered the driver’s door of the Toyota Prius. The male subject closed the driver door and started the vehicle. Officers commanded the driver to turn off the vehicle but he did not comply. Approximately nine seconds later, the male subject drove forward out of the parking spot. Fearing the male subject intended to use the Toyota Prius as a deadly weapon, one patrol officer fired his patrol rifle, striking the male driver. The Toyota Prius collided with another parked vehicle in the parking lot and came to a stop. Officers approached the driver, extracted him from the Toyota Prius, and began to apply medical aid. Officers summoned EMS to the scene. EMS responded and transported the male subject to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 7:26 pm.

This is, of course, the view of the Austin Police Department as to what occurred.  Our Texas civil rights law firm reviews custodial death reports on a frequent basis, and we have found that such reports are often inaccurate.  Once again, we cannot say that the report referenced above is inaccurate.  It will take review of body cam recordings, dash cam recordings, and likely other evidence to determine whether the description of what resulted in Mr. Ramos’s death is accurate.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to all of us not to be subjected to unreasonable force by a police officer.  If police officers use unreasonable force on a person, and cause that person’s death as a result, then those police officers, and perhaps their employer, can be liable to certain surviving family members for claims which are typically brought in federal court.

Written By: author image Dean Malone
author image Dean Malone
Dean Malone is the founder of Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a jail neglect civil rights law firm. Mr. Malone earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and from Baylor University School of Law with a general civil litigation concentration. Mr. Malone served in several staff positions for the Baylor Law Review, including executive editor. Mr. Malone is an experienced trial lawyer, trying a number of cases to jury verdict and also handling arbitrations through final hearing. He heads the jail neglect section of his law firm, in which lawyers litigate cases involving serious injury and death resulting from jail neglect and abuse. Lawyers frequently refer cases to Mr. Malone due to his focus on this very complicated civil rights practice area.