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911 call that led up to Michael Ramos' death raises questions about caller's culpability



AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department has released the 911 call that fueled its response before the shooting death of Michael Ramos on April 24.


Monday morning's release of the edited and redacted version of the call, along with body camera and dashcam footage, came a little more than three months after the incident happened.


In the call, you can hear the caller tell the operator, "They're in the car smoking crack and cooking meth."


Soon after, the caller mentions that Ramos is carrying a gun.


"He has a gun. He has a gun to this lady," the caller said. "I see him holding a gun, ma'am. [...] He's holding it up. [...] He was pointing it at her."


The 911 operator, however, attempts to clarify the caller's claim and asks again whether Ramos is holding a gun or pointing it at someone.


"He's holding it," the caller said.


It's this conversation between the 911 caller and the operator that guided how Austin police responded to the southeast Austin apartment complex that day.


According to Ramos' custodial death report, which was filed by APD with the Texas Attorney General's Office, officers said they had reason to believe Ramos had a gun in his car because of that caller.


"Due to the nature of the call and the 911 caller’s information, officers had reason to believe the Toyota Prius could contain a gun," the report read.


That information is also what led officers to fire the less-lethal round when Ramos continued to ignore officers' commands.


"Due to the male subject’s noncompliance and ability to possibly access a gun inside the vehicle or on his person, officers decided to deploy a less-lethal munition to gain compliance," the report reads.


Ramos would later die at a hospital after an officer shot him through his car while attempting to drive away from police at the scene.


"When you get a report there's a gun involved, you have to assume that the information that's been given to 911 is accurate, and you have to respond accordingly," Dennis Farris, a retired Austin police officer, told KVUE.


He said sometimes people will call 911 and exaggerate the situation or lie in order to get officers to respond faster.


In this case, police did not find a gun on Ramos or in his car.