Grand jury clears 3 Austin police officers in use of force case

A Travis County Special Grand Jury has cleared Austin police officers Derrick Lehman, Jason Cummins, and Michael Barba in Use of Force case in the 2021 shooting of Lashondell Gillespie.

The grand jury did not return an indictment.

On August 19, 2021, police responded to a 911 call of a man, later identified as Gillespie, on the highway in the 2300 block of South U.S. 183 northbound during rush hour.

When officers arrived at the scene, they say he was in the middle of the highway lanes of traffic and advanced towards the officers with a knife.

Officers gave commands to Gillespie to drop the knife. Police say Gillespie did not drop the knife and continued to move towards officers. Officer Lehman and Cummins fired shots as Gillespie moved closer to them.

Police say Gillespie was injured, fell to the ground, and still refused to drop the knife. Officers asked Gillespie to drop the knife and Gillespie continued to refuse.

Then, Officer Barba tased Gillespie as officers disarmed him, and officers approached him to render aid.

Gillespie was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries and survived.

"The District Attorney’s office takes the work of presenting all facts and evidence to a grand jury very seriously," said District Attorney Garza. "In this case, an independent group of members of the Travis County community heard the evidence and law and decided that Officer Lehman’s, Cummins’, and Barba’s conduct was not unlawful."

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