On Monday morning a shooting occurred in Austin. 17-year-old David Joseph was naked and unarmed when he was fatally shot by a police officer. Officer Geoffrey Freeman, pulled the trigger after a disturbance call just before 10 a.m. on the 8th.
The case is being investigated by the Internal Affairs division of APD, along with the department’s Special Investigations Unit. The case will eventually be presented to a grand jury.
Here are the unbiased facts of the case:
- Officer Freeman was told that there was no weapon involved by the dispatcher. He was called to an apartment complex on Yaegar Lane for a reported disturbance just before 10am, but he could not find anyone. Witnesses told the officer that 911 had been called after a man was chasing another man through the complex. After locating Joseph, Officer Freeman gave an initial set of commands, which Joseph did not respond to. Joseph then charged Officer Freeman, who fired his handgun. Officers are equipped with Tasers, but Officer Freeman did not use his.
- The autopsy is being conducted, as well as a toxicology report. APD would not talk about Joseph’s past when asked about any prior criminal record or mental health issues. It is unknown if Joseph suffered from any mental affliction. David was a two-sport athlete at John B. Connally High School in Austin.
- Officer Geoffrey Freeman has been with APD since 2005. He is a patrol officer, and has been placed on administrative duty per procedure. This is the first officer-involved shooting of 2016. There were seven in 2015.
- Local activist groups condemned the shooting, most notably the Austin chapter of the NAACP. President Nelson Linder told the Statesman that the incident highlights the need for better police training. Jim Harrington, director and founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said in a statement that it is almost incomprehensible that a young, naked man would be considered dangerous such that a police officer would kill him.”
- There is audio of part of the incident, but no known video of the incident. The dash cam on Freeman’s patrol car did not record video of the shooting. The audio has not been made public. The incident, according to the audio, lasted just a matter of seconds.
APD has said that the investigation will be completed in 30 days, giving it a very tight schedule. We will keep you updated.