Top Austin Headlines of 2021: Killer Cop Faces Murder Charge

March 10: Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor is indicted for first-degree murder in the 2020 killing of Michael Ramos

Seen in late January, after the shooting of Gonzales, his partner, and their infant son by on- and off-duty APD officers on Wickersham Lane in Southeast Austin on Jan. 5 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

When the news broke in March that APD Officer Christopher Taylor faced murder charges for shooting Mike Ramos in April 2020, angry police backers were still capable of a decorous response: Taylor's attorneys Ken Ervin and Doug O'Connell joined Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday to pronounce themselves "disappointed." They were less polite two months later, when District Attorney José Garza secured a murder indictment against U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Perry – also represented by O'Connell – for shooting protester Garrett Foster on Congress Avenue in July 2020. Then, after Taylor was charged in August with a second murder – killing Mauris DeSilva at a Downtown high-rise in 2019 – the gloves really came off. Ervin and O'Connell accused Garza of "waging a war on police officers." Casaday said, "This is another political prosecution by D.A. Garza and it's not going to be tolerated."

Their retaliation had already begun. After an APD detective working on the Perry case decided on his own to collaborate with the defense, O'Connell tried to get the case thrown out and Garza sanctioned for witness tampering – perhaps the first time Austin's cop lobby has concerned itself with the rights of the accused in grand jury proceedings. When O'Connell's motions got spiked for lack of evidence of any improper conduct, he then filed complaints with the Office of Police Oversight against police Chief Joseph Chacon and Assistant Chief Richard Guajardo for allegedly harassing detective David Fugitt for going rogue by cooperating with O'Connell; an investigation found some level of misbehavior on Guajardo's part, and he retired soon after.

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