Judge declares mistrial for police officer who shot and killed Michael Ramos
Taylor was facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with Ramos' death.
The jury heard three weeks of witness testimony and watched hours of body camera footage. But after nearly a week of deliberations, the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision, leading Judge Dayna Blazey to declare a mistrial on Wednesday, November 15.
The state and the defense took an hour and 15 minutes each to make their closing arguments on Tuesday, November 7. During the trial, the jury was given information pertaining to Austin Police Department (APD) practices and procedures and the events that led up to the shooting.
The jury spent all day deliberating on Wednesday, November 8, and Thursday, November 9. The court then took a break on Friday, November 10, and the jury continued to deliberate all day Monday, November 13, and Tuesday, November 14.
At 11 am on November 13, the jury delivered a note to the judge saying that it has been unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The judge then issued what is sometimes referred to as an "Allen charge" or a "dynamite charge," instructing the jurors to continue deliberating.
According to the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell School of Law, Allen charges refer to jury instructions given to a hung jury, urging them to agree on a verdict.
On Tuesday, November 14, the jurors asked for more clarification on the charge the judge gave them. They also stated that they were in conflict over the testimonies of three witnesses: Officer Darrell Cantu-Harkless, Detective Benjamin Hart and Officer Mitchell Pieper.
This is the second time this year that a mistrial has been declared for Taylor. The big question now is what comes next.
KVUE will continue to follow this story, and this article will be updated as we learn more.
Shortly after the mistrial was declared on Wednesday, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson issued the following statement:
“This mistrial will leave just about everyone frustrated, but we can’t let this outcome divide our city,” Mayor Kirk Watson said. "The last few days have intensified the community conversation around public safety and policing, and I understand and support everyone’s right to make their feelings known and their voices heard. I ask that we express our views and emotions in a way that is safe and constructive to the dialogue that needs to continue. ..."
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