Ex-Austin officer claims self-defense in teen's killing

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A former Austin police officer contended he made no errors in the way he handled a confrontation with an unarmed, naked teenager early this year that ended with the officer fatally shooting the 17-year-old.

Geoffrey Freeman gave his account of the shooting during a deposition as part of a federal lawsuit filed by the family of the teen. Police said David Joseph was shot twice on Feb. 8 by Freeman when the teen refused orders to stop and charged at the former officer, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Freeman, 42, was fired in March by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. A grand jury declined to indict Freeman in the killing.

During the deposition, Freeman said he could've used other weapons such as pepper spray or a Taser to fend off the teen but he opted to fire his gun in self-defense.

"My intent was to get there, hold the scene, hold him there if he stayed there," Freeman said. "I tried to wait. ... I gave ample distance. He chose to charge at me."

The day of the shooting, Freeman drove alone to the neighborhood responding to reports about a naked man running across the street. According to the video from the car's dashboard, when Freeman saw Joseph standing naked in the street, he exited his car. Joseph sprinted toward him, and Freeman shot the boy twice after telling Joseph several times to stop.

Acevedo angered many officers by standing with groups such as Black Lives Matter just days after the shooting. Although Acevedo fired Freeman for multiple policy violations, including the use of unreasonable force, the police union is still strongly defending Freeman.

The transcript release of Freeman's deposition and four-hour video comes at a time where he is preparing to seek reinstatement. City lawyers are deciding whether to resolve the Joseph family's lawsuit by either taking it to trial next year or settling the case.

"If you can't handle a kid in broad daylight, naked, and your first instinct is to come out with your gun, and your next instinct is to shoot the kid dead, you don't need to be a cop," Acevedo said in a recently recorded meeting with his top commanders.