( 4UMF NEWS ) Cop Fired For Shooting Death Of Unarmed Teen:
Austin police Officer Geoffrey Freeman had an array of tools to subdue a naked and unarmed 17-year-old boy without lethal force, but instead, he drew his firearm and shot David Joseph.
The Austin Police Department fired Freeman, 41, Monday afternoon in response to the February shooting that killed David — a Connally High School senior and son of an immigrant mother from Haiti — for violating its excessive force policies.
“Officer Freeman’s decision to draw his weapon when he exited his vehicle was unwarranted,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote in a memo detailing Freeman’s disciplinary action for violating the Civil Service Commission rules.
Acevedo listed Freeman’s baton, stun gun, pepper spray, a bean bag shot gun stashed in the trunk and even physical force as ways to stop David without lethal force.
It’s unclear if Freeman, a 10-year veteran of the Austin force, will face criminal charges related to the Feb. 8 shooting. He has 10 days to appeal Acevedo’s decision.
“My family is glad to hear that Officer Freeman will not hurt any other unarmed black men,” David’s brother,Fally Joseph, said in a statement to KXAN-TV. “When he took my brother away from us, he stole something no one can ever give us back. We are glad to know that the City of Austin thinks David’s life mattered, and that Officer Freeman will not be on the streets again.”
Freeman encountered the teen — nicknamed by friends “Pronto” — running around a street at 10:25 a.m., blocks from David’s home in the city’s northern suburbs. Following several complaints from residents, the young black subject — clothed at the time — had been harassing residents, even chasing a man.
“Sounds like this guy could either be, he’s 10-86 (subject with mental illness) and losing it or high or something,” Freeman told dispatch.
Instead of waiting for additional officers per department policy when engaging with “subjects displaying symptoms of substance-induced excited delirium,” Freeman approached David alone. He stopped his cruiser within 90 feet of David and got out of the vehicle drawing his weapon.
David then charged Freeman, refusing to stop despite commands and within 6.7 seconds, the cop fired at least one gunshot, striking David out of sight from the cruiser’s dash cam footage. Backup wouldn’t arrive for another minute and a half.
An autopsy found no trace of gunpowder on David’s body meaning the teenager and Freeman were separated by several feet at the time of the shooting.
Additionally, a toxicology report determined David had traces of Xanax, anti-histamines and marijuana in his system, his family told KXAN-TV, but the results conflicted with Freeman’s belief David was experiencing excited delirium.
“No one was under a threat of imminent harm or suffering serious bodily injury or death by Mr. David,” Acevedo determined.
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