David Joseph was shot and killed in North Austin, Texas on Feb. 8 by Austin Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman, this after he arrived at an apartment complex in response to a disturbance. On Monday, Officer Freeman was fired by the APD during a press conference after it was determined he used excessive measures during the incident.
Local outlet KXAN reports:
Officer Geoffrey Freeman, 41, was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing on Monday afternoon, but his attorney said he waived his rights to the hearing because he already answered all the questions the department asked. Since Freeman waived his right to a hearing, it was up to Chief Art Acevedo to determine his fate with the department.
Police say Freeman shot and killed Joseph, who was unarmed and naked on Feb. 8 in North Austin. Freeman was originally called to an apartment complex in the 300 block of East Yager Lane for a report of a man chasing another man around the complex. When Freeman arrived, he spoke to the witness but was not able to immediately locate the suspect, until a short time later on Natures Bend. In a verbal statement given by Freeman at the scene, when he encountered Joseph he gave him several commands to stop, but Joseph continued to “charge” towards him. The Austin Police Department’s Chief of Staff Brian Manley said it was then that Freeman fired the shots at Joseph, which occurred out of frame from the officer’s dash camera.
In a press conference Monday, Acevedo said after a long investigation involving Freeman’s supervisors and other department heads, he determined “based on the totality of circumstances, we didn’t agree that the officer’s use of deadly force was needed” and that it was not “justified in this case.” He goes on to say Freeman’s actions were not “consistent with the standards and training of the Austin Police Department.”
The news outlet adds that Freeman wrote in his disciplinary memo that he acted to confront the teen on his own, with full knowledge that other officers had yet to arrive at the scene. According to Freeman’s account, he assumed that Joseph was under the influence of drugs or having a mental health episode. Freeman, upon seeing Joseph naked but otherwise non-threatening, opened fire on the boy instead of using lesser means to subdue him.
Freeman’s legal team tried to get their client off, stating that the APD had already made their decision ahead of hearing the facts. The Austin Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas have been critical of Chief Acevedo public handling of the case. and believe that Freeman will be found free of charges after facing a grand jury.
Photo: family photo