Investigation continues in David Joseph shooting case

The first part of an internal investigation into a controversial fatal police shooting is over.

The report is a presentation of all the evidence APD Internal Affairs investigators have gathered since the fatal confrontation February 8th. The report does not, according to Chief Art Acevedo, make any conclusions.

"If in fact it’s been completed and there are no other steps that we identify that need to be taken as to the investigative process,  I would say we will make that determination, one way or the other, sooner rather than later,” said Chief Acevedo.

While the details of the internal investigation are not yet public a basic accounting of what took place has been done.

Officer Geoffrey Freeman had responded to a report of a man trying to attack another man at an apartment complex along Yager Lane. The search for the suspect led Freeman to a nearby neighborhood where residents had earlier reported seeing a strange man in various stages of undress.

Freeman reportedly spotted 17-year-old David Joseph standing naked in the roadway and gave several commands to surrender. But according to investigators, Joseph charged at the police officer and was shot several times- even though he was not armed with a weapon.

Chief Acevedo said he doesn't expect the investigation will require him to change APD's Use-of-Force policy.

"I’m not going to talk specifically what we should or shouldn't do, that's what we are looking at  this case, when we are done we will report back our findings and the community will knew what my expectations are, at that time,” said Acevedo. 

APD's Use-of-Force Policy allows officers to immediately bypass non-lethal tactics if they are in fear for their lives or the life of another person. While that is a judgment call there is concern that the internal review into what officer freeman did could be an unfair rush to judgment.

"And I've said it before, if it takes 5 days that’s fine, if it takes 80 that’s fine also, but you need a factual honest open investigation,” said Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association.

In backing off the 30 day pledge, Chief Acevedo said investigators initially told him the review could be done faster than usual.  The Chief offered no new time-table and said he considers the criticism that he was trying to fast track the review to be a misunderstanding

Casaday also takes exception with another statement made by the Chief. It was about making a final decision regarding possible policy violations without knowing if Joseph was high on drugs.

"It absolutely should factor in, I don’t know where he got that from, I know sometimes he just makes up things in his own imagination, but toxicology is a very important part of this,” said Casaday.

The Internal Affairs report is expected to be a critical part of a Grand Jury review into the shooting. Chief Acevedo said he will release his final decision even if the Grand Jury is still deliberating.
 

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