"There's a police officer in a fight with a guy across the street," a man told an APD 911 dispatcher on April 5. "Should I go help him? It looks like he's about to be hurt." The officer, whom the man could see struggling with a black man wearing shorts on a lawn on Overbrook Drive in East Austin, appeared to be in trouble. "He's about to pull his gun off of him," the man told the dispatcher.
"The black man's about to pull the gun off the officer?" the dispatcher asked. "Yes, they're wrestling," the man replied. Then quickly interjected: "Oh my god." Seconds later a popping noise sounds in the background. "Oh my god; oh my god. He shot him."
"Who shot who?" the dispatcher asked.
"The cop shot him," the man replied.
The man's call (his name and address were redacted from the tape released by APD last week) was one of two calls made to 911 as Officer Eric Copeland struggled with Ahmede Jabbar Bradley after Bradley fled during a routine traffic stop. According to police, Copeland pulled Bradley over in the 5100 block of Manor Road around 6:40pm on April 5 for playing loud music. The stop started out "friendly," APD Chief Art Acevedo said after the incident, but when Copeland smelled burning marijuana coming from the car, Bradley apparently fled the scene, running through the nearby neighborhood. Copeland gave chase; he tried to stop Bradley by using his Taser, but the weapon failed to deploy correctly. At one point during the struggle, Bradley tried to choke Copeland with the cord to his radio's microphone – enough pressure was applied, said Assistant Chief Sean Mannix, to "tear the microphone" free from the cord, and to leave red marks on Copeland's neck. As the two men wrestled on the ground, the 911 callers each said it appeared Copeland was losing the fight and was in danger of being injured; Copeland eventually freed himself, regained control of his weapon, and fired two shots into Bradley's chest. Bradley died at the scene.
Bradley had a long history of run-ins with the law, from multiple charges of evading arrest – including an incident in 2009 eerily similar to his fatal interaction with Copeland earlier this month (see, "'I Need Rehab Not Discipline,'" April 13) – to possession of marijuana and cocaine. Mannix said that at the time of his death, Bradley was carrying just over an ounce of powder cocaine that was "hard pressed," as if it had recently been chipped from a larger block of the drug, and $1,700 in cash. Mannix said Bradley had been arrested some 30 times since the early Nineties; according to court records, Bradley had faced 17 misdemeanor charges since 1994 and three felonies since 2002. "This guy had a lot going on," said Mannix.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
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