Austin Police Officer Christopher Van Buren has been temporarily suspended for 90 days. The suspension begins January 13, 2016.
On August 27, 2015 Officer Van Buren was dispatched along with his partner to the area of 2706 Gonzalez St. for a report of a man urinating in public. Upon arrival, the suspect was lying on his back under a tree.
The ensuing encounter was captured on Van Buren's in-car video.
Officer Van Buren drew his taser and ordered the suspect to get up and the suspect showed his hands as he got up from the lying down position and moved to a seated position.
The officer continued to order the suspect to stand up and ordered the suspect to walk towards the patrol vehicle. The suspect “expressed bewilderment at the prospect of being tased and remained in the seated position,” according to a memorandum issued by APD.
The memorandum goes on to report that, “Although Officer Van Buren stated to Internal Affairs that he had a concern about a potential weapon in the suspect’s bag, this concern was unwarranted and is unsupported by the video evidence of Officer Van Buren’s actions before and after tasing.
Buren deployed the Taser “in spite of having an additional officer present and being unable to articulate a reasonable justification for the tasing.”