The leaders of an NAACP branch in Texas want to know why police used lethal force on a naked young man who had been found wandering around an Austin neighborhood early Monday. The 18-year-old unidentified man, who neighbors said appeared to be black, was shot and killed by a police officer after allegedly charging at the officers, according to a report by the New York Daily News.
Police had not released much information about the incident, including whether the man was armed, as of Tuesday morning. That’s the biggest question posed by local civil rights activists. “I don’t see how a young man who is naked and not hurting anybody winds up dead,” NAACP Austin chapter president Nelson Linder told the local Fox affiliate, KTBC-TV.
Police also have not said whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in what neighbors reported as erratic and suspicious behavior from the young man. The officer who first arrived on the scene found the naked man standing in the middle of a residential street, said Assistant Police Chief Brian Manley.
“This person was acting aggressively toward these witnesses and running around the neighborhood,” Manly said during a press conference Monday, according to the Daily News. A squad car dash camera reportedly captured audio, but no video, of the moment that the man allegedly charged at the officers, Manley added.
“Ultimately, you can hear shots being fired,” Manley said. The man died at a local hospital and the officer has been on administrative leave, in accordance with department policy.
Texas, along with Baltimore and other cities, has been the focus of protests over the use of excessive force against people of color over the past year. Last June, an officer in McKinney resigned after video showed him throwing a bikini-clad teenaged girl to the ground, in an attempt to control a reported disturbance at a community pool.
A month later, Sandra Bland, a Chicago-area woman traveling to Prairie View to start a new job, was forced out of her vehicle with a state trooper’s stun gun pointed at her, following a routine traffic stop. Bland, 28, was booked in a county jail, where she died days later of an apparent suicide by hanging.