Travis County DA drops excessive use of force case against 7 APD officers

The Travis County District Attorney's Office finished reviewing a use of force case against seven Austin police officers and on Wednesday, announced the officers' use of force during a SWAT standoff in February 2018 was justified.

Dashcam video shows an officer pulling over a taxi cab. The officer can be heard yelling, "show me your hands." The cab driver's hand can be seen from the driver side window. The video then shows Thomas Alvarez stepping out of the passenger side door. The officer yells, "Turn around and get on the ground."

Instead, Alvarez jumps back inside the car. The cab driver is then seen jumping out of the car with his hands up. He listens to the officer's commands and lays down on the ground.

According to witness statements, Alvarez's roommate told police the incident started with an argument between the two. Alvarez wanted a ride out of town and his roommate refused to give him one. Later in the day, Alvarez caught a cab and followed his roommate. His roommate felt uneasy and contacted police.

Alvarez then hijacked the cab and led police on a chase through South Austin, ending at an entrance gate to a subdivision near South Pleasant Valley. After an hour of hostage negotiation and attempts to get Alvarez to surrender his weapon, police report him pointing the gun at his own head and then pointing the gun out the window.

Alvarez was hit multiple times and died shortly after. Seven officers fired their weapons. Broken glass, and more than two dozen holes revealed the trajectory of the bullets. The officers were immediately placed on administrative leave.

After reviewing evidence and witness statements, the District Attorney's office determined the officers' use of force was justified.