Attorney Brad Vinson was recently featured in a Fox 7 news story, discussing the case of a man who was fatally shot by an Austin police officer in April of 2020. The case has received a lot of media attention for several reasons. First, witnesses' videos appear to show that the man was not threatening the officers before the shooting. Second, the incident happened shortly after another fatal officer-involved shooting. One of the officers in that case was the one who fired his rifle in the most recent incident.
Shooting of an Unarmed Man
On April 24, 2020, Austin police officers responded to a call about a man sitting in his car, possibly doing drugs. The caller also alleged that the man was armed.
When officers arrived, the man got out of his car, put his hands up, and raised his shirt to show that he did not have a concealed gun. After shouting commands at the man, one of the officers shot him with a bean bag. That's when the man got back in his vehicle and started to drive off.
Sadly, as the man was trying to leave the scene, one of the responding officers, C. Taylor, fired his rifle three times, killing the man.
Later, the Austin Police Department announced that the man was unarmed.
Shooting of a Man Suffering a Mental Health Crisis
Attorney Vinson told Fox 7 that as he was following the story about the fatal shooting on April 24th, he realized that the officer who fired his rifle, Taylor, was the same one involved in a wrongful death matter he is handling. In that case, officers were called to the Spring Condominiums after neighbors reported that a man was banging on doors and was holding a large knife to his throat. He appeared to be having a mental health crisis.
As the officers approached the man, he removed the knife from his throat and started walking towards them. He was about seven to 10 feet away from the officers and didn't appear to be rushing toward them, but two of the officers fired their weapons, and one discharged a taser.
Attorney Vinson filed a petition for a use-of-force investigation and requested evidence from the incident. However, APD declined to release evidence, citing the ongoing investigation of the case. The City said that the department had until May of 2020 or the investigation's conclusion to provide the requested evidence.
In the meantime, Taylor and the other two officers involved in the shooting were allowed to return to full active duty. It was also during this period that Taylor was again at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting.
Taylor has since been placed on paid administrative leave.
At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, we believe those who cause another's death should be held responsible for their actions. We do what it takes to seek justice.
If your loved one lost their life at the hands of someone else, reach out to our Austin team for the compassionate legal guidance you need. Call (512) 359-3743 or contact us online today.