One story that I'm just now catching up with is the Dec. 20 indictment of Daniel Sanchez, the police officer who fatally shot Rajan Moonesinghe more than a year ago.
I think Brant Bingamon of the Austin Chronicle had the best summary of the events that led to the indictment:
The Ring doorbell video caught the moments before officers arrived. Moonesinghe stands on his porch with a black AR-15 style rifle. He addresses someone he seems to believe is inside his home, saying, “You want this?” and fires two shots through his open door. After the second shot, police cruisers pass in the street with their lights off. Moonesinghe does not appear to see them. The second parks just past his house.
Sanchez’s body cam video shows him exit his car and rush across the street, diving onto the ground near a neighbor’s fence, with Moonesinghe visible roughly 50 to 70 feet away. After hitting the ground, Sanchez yells, “Drop the gun!” and instantaneously fires three shots, followed by two more. He and fellow officers Stephen Markert and Luis Brito wait 30 seconds and then advance to the porch, where Moonesignhe is crumpled on his side, shot in the chest, back, and legs. The officers search the house and find no one. They speak among themselves, acknowledging that Moonesinghe is doing poorly, and then handcuff the dying man.
The grand jury only returned an indictment for deadly conduct, a third degree felony that carries a sentence between two and ten years in prison. It's a serious charge, no doubt, but it's a far cry from the first degree murder charge that Christopher Taylor, the officer who killed Michael Ramos, is currently battling.
Why deadly conduct? It's hard to say because grand jury proceedings are secret. We don't know what exactly the prosecutors told the jurors. However, a lower-level charge like this seems much more likely to result in a conviction than one that will result in a life sentence.
An indictment of APD training?
In a remarkable rebuke to the system of criminal justice that she serves, Interim APD Chief Robin Henderson essentially said the grand jury got it wrong.