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Attorney accuses APD, City of Austin of covering up details of an officer-involved shooting
Allegations of secrecy, lies and a cover up; an Austin attorney is calling for the city of Austin to unseal documents in the investigation into a 2011 officer-involved shooting.
"People should question why it is, yet again, we have another controversial police shooting and, yet again, the city of Austin is refusing to release documents about the shooting. It's a matter of government transparency and honesty," said Austin attorney Adam Loewy.
Adam Loewy is the attorney for the family of Byron Carter Jr. Carter was a passenger in a car in May 2011 when he was shot multiple times by Austin Police officers.
Criminal charges against that driver of the car Carter was in were dismissed, and no criminal charges were ever brought against the officer for his actions in the shooting. The case is now in civil court.
Since Carters death in 2011, the details on how he died have come from the Austin police department.
Police have said Officer Nathan Wagner and his partner Jeffrey Rodriguez were patrolling 8th street just east of I-35 on May 31, 2011, looking for car thieves. Police said when the officers approached the car, where Carter was a passenger, the driver grabbed the steering wheel and drove the car directly toward the Officer Rodriguez, hitting and injuring him.
"One of the officers who was standing in the street was struck by the right side of the vehicle," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo in a news conference in 2011. "His [Officer Wager's] sole intent was to defend his partner."
But attorney Adam Loewy isn't buying the police's version of events.
"The story that the police department has put out about this case is factually incorrect. It is false," said Loewy. "This officer was not hit by a car, was not dragged by a car, and was not injured that night."
Loewy says he can prove that events the night of Carter's death didn't happen the way police said they did, if internal documents about the shooting are released.
"If they have nothing to hide, why don't they release the documents," challenged Loewy.
Loewy has filed a motion asking the court to make public the internal police review and the police monitor's report, both of which have remained confidential for more than a year.
"My bigger issue here is government transparency," said Loewy. "If you are going to have a police monitor investigate a shooting in this town, why are the results being kept confidential?"
The city is expected to file its response to Loewy's request to make these documents public this week.
Calls to Officer Wagner's defense attorney in this case went unanswered.