AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - On the night of April 7, 2017, Austin police arrived on Parliament Drive in East Austin responding to reports about a man with a gun.
“He knew there some commotion outside. He came outside to see what was going on in which point he was shot about seven times,” said Robert Ranco, one of Lawrence Parrish’s attorneys.
Police say Parrish, who was 31 at the time, fired shots at officers from his porch.
“The official statement by the police department indicated that they were returning fire, that Lawrence had fired a rifle at the officers to which they returned fire. A couple of days later police had to recant that because they realized that wasn't true,” said Ranco.
In a press conference after the shooting, then Interim Chief Brian Manley also noted there was not any video captured. “The video does not capture Mr. Parrish's front door based on the direction the car was pointing,” said Manley.
Parrish, who survived the shooting, was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, but the charge was dropped last summer. Something his lawyers say further proves his innocence. “He had several shots to his torso, he had a shot through his right hand, and one of his pinky had to be amputated. When he was shot one of the bullets grazed his face. It absolutely was excessive force,” said Chris Tolbert, co-counsel for Parrish.
Parrish has spent the last several months in jail on charges unrelated to this incident, but this week he and his lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the department and the four cops who shot at Parrish. “There are certainly some good police officers, but there is a sub culture within the police force that needs to be addressed,” said Tolbert.
Over the past two years, Parrish has garnered support from his brother Cluren, and many community leaders. His lawyers are hoping the lawsuit can expose every bit of truth. “I’ve spoken to witnesses who were present at the scene, they said they didn't see a weapon in his hand, they certainly didn't see a weapon raised,” said Ranco.
“This lawsuit is about accountability, it's about transparency,” said Tolbert.