A black teenager was killed by police in Austin, Texas on Monday morning. David Joseph, 17, was naked, unarmed and “acting erratically” when he encountered officers that received multiple calls to the scene, according to the Austin Police Department.
Brian Manley, Austin Police Chief of Staff, told reporters that Joseph charged at Officer Geoffrey Freeman despite multiple orders to stop. Part of the altercation was caught on dash cam video, but Joseph reportedly ran out of frame where Freeman can be heard continuing his orders for Joseph to stop before shots were fired, just seconds into the confrontation, according to the Huffington Post.
Manley wouldn’t comment on whether or not a stun gun was used by Freeman, whose a black officer that’s been on the Austin force for 10 years. He’s now been placed on administrative leave.
David Joseph died at a local hospital later that day.
“The question is, how do you address your policy now?” said said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, according to The Grio. “If it allows this kind of shooting, it’s not of value. The problem with these shootings is often times APD, they don’t appear to enforce their own policies. If that’s the case we have a major problem because if you have a policy and don’t follow it, then what good is it?”
This tragic death is another example of the obvious flaws in the methods used by police officers across the country. If a civilian is unarmed, naked and possibly under mental and emotional, they shouldn’t be on the ground filled with bullets within a few moments after police arrive at the scene. David Joseph needed help, not death.
“It’s almost incomprehensible that a young naked man would be considered dangerous such that a police officer would kill him,” Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said in a statement. “There have been way too many police killings over the years simply because police do not know how to deescalate situations and end up resorting to violence. This has to stop.”
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