AUSTIN, Texas – A mistrial was declared by a judge last week during jury selection in the murder trial of an Austin police officer who was involved in a fatal 2020 on-duty shooting.
District Judge Dayna Blazey will discuss with prosecutors and the officer’s defense attorney this week when to reset the trial, which could occur as soon as June 5, if a panel of 100 potential jurors can be summoned, the American Statesman reported.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza is a George-Soros funded radical prosecutor who has demonstrated more interest in pursuing criminal charges against police officers than holding violent felons accountable.
In April 2020, Officer Christopher Taylor fatally shot Mike Ramos in a parking lot in Southeast Austin after a group of officers responded to a 911 call reporting that a person possibly involved in a drug deal had a firearm.
When officers arrived at the complex, they said Ramos did not obey their commands, prompting them to use bean bags on him. Then, when Ramos got into his car and started driving, Taylor opened fire. A gun was not located, KVUE reported.
WATCH CRITICAL INCIDENT BRIEFING – APRIL 24, 2020
Not long after Ramos — who was Black and Latino — died in the officer-involved shooting, he became the name and face in Austin for the national Black Lives Matter movement, as thousands of protesters took to the streets.
Taylor’s attorneys said he opened fire on Ramos to protect himself as well as other officers and that he committed no crime. Nevertheless, DA Garza took the case to a grand jury in 2021 and obtained an indictment.
“Due to the release of Monday’s jury panel because of a constitutional violation, the parties were not able to select a jury this week,” the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The judge will reset the case to a future date, and the state will be ready to try the case then.”
The officer’s defense attorneys filed a motion for a mistrial on Friday during jury selection. It was granted by the judge.
The Travis County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation for possible jury tampering after envelopes mysteriously appeared on vehicles belonging to three potential jurors, according to the motion for mistrial. It said a potential juror provided a court bailiff the envelope left on the juror’s vehicle on Wednesday. TCSO discovered similar envelopes left on two other potential jurors’ vehicles, according to the motion.
The envelopes contained a piece of paper with images and words related to the OIS.
“The words and images depicted are also reasonably interpreted to be threatening and intimidating in nature,” according to the defense motion.
“We sincerely hope measures can be put in place to ensure the safety of all potential jurors in the future,” defense attorney Doug O’Connell said. “Tampering with potential jurors erodes the community’s trust in the judicial system.”