AUSTIN, Texas - Day eight of APD Officer Christopher Taylor’s murder trial included opening statements from the defense. This came after the state rested its case.
Before the defense’s opening statement, use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton was back on the witness stand Wednesday morning for the murder trial of Officer Taylor.
Stoughton analyzed police body cam footage from April 24, 2020, and testified he did not believe Taylor's use of fatal force against Ramos was justified under general policing practices.
Stoughton’s testimony prompted an almost three-hour line of questioning from defense attorney Ken Ervin because Stoughton’s testimony directly contradicted Officer Taylor's statement that he believed Ramos and his vehicle were a threat to officers. Ervin asked Stoughton if he knew Ramos's intention when driving off. Stoughton rescinded with, "subjectively, of course not."
Ervin showed Stoughton a YouTube video of an unaffiliated, but similar prius to Ramos’s ramming into a pickup truck. Ervin asked if an officer would be injured if one were to be hypothetically standing by the pickup truck in the video. Stoughton responded with, "sure, potentially."
The state followed up by asking Stoughton directly if Ramos and his vehicle posed any threat to officers in 2020. Stoughton said no.
After eight days of state witness testimony in this murder trial, the state rested. The defense picked up by delivering its opening statement to the jury before calling witnesses.
"Real trial starts now," said Defense Attorney Doug O’Connell.
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR MURDER TRIAL
- Day 7: Expert witness claims data shows Ramos was no threat to officers
- Day 6: Lead investigator in 2020 shooting questioned by defense
- Day 5: Officer's written statement read aloud in court
O'Connell addressed the jury during opening statements saying this murder trial is about Officer Taylor's actions in response to his perceived threat on April 24, 2020. He says the jury will be sure Officer Taylor was justified after the defense calls its witnesses.
O’Connell also listed out what the defense plans to show the jury. This included a zoomed in photo of Ramos's car tire before he fled and just as he was beginning to drive. He told the jury the tire looks to be going straight just as Ramos was beginning to drive off.
Three other officers took the stand as defense witnesses. O’Connell informed the jury they can expect to hear testimony from more officers during the remainder of this trial. This includes testimony from officers who already testified under the state.
Trial continues Thursday, Nov. 2.