Two Austin Police Officers Charged With Murder

Image: Austin Police Department

An Austin police officer, who was previously charged with murder, has just been indicted for another murder that took place in 2019, according to the New York Times.

The indictment came five months after Christopher Taylor had been charged with fatally shooting Michael Ramos, outside an Austin apartment complex on April 24, 2020.

A grand jury in Travis County officially charged Christopher Taylor and another officer, Karl Krycia, with using deadly force that resulted in the death of 46-year-old Dr. Mauris DeSilva.

Marius’ father, Denzil DeSilva, said the charges will help him begin the healing process of dealing with the devastating loss.

Dr. Mauris DeSilva with his mother and father. Image: Family Photo

“Due to the excessive force used by Austin Police Department officers, Denzil lost a beloved son, and the world lost a talented scientist and researcher,” the father’s lawyers said in a statement.

On July 31, 2019, Austin police were called after a man was seen outside of a building with a knife.

According to the police, the two officers showed up at the scene while DeSilva was in the building and he was discovered on the fifth floor. Police claim that DeSilva did not obey their commands and approached them with the knife in his right hand.

During the time of the fatal incident, DeSilva was suffering from a severe bout of mental illness, according to a lawsuit filed by his father, KVUE reported. The lawsuit also claims that Taylor and Krycia were fully aware that DeSilva was experiencing a mental breakdown and still responding “as if this were the scene of a violent crime.” 

In February 2015, DeSilva threatened to hurt himself and was taken to a hospital by the Austin police. Back in May 2019, he required “an emotionally disturbed person” intervention by the police, and on July 7, 2019, he was committed to emergency detention, according to the lawsuit.

DeSilva, who had a Ph.D.in biomedical engineering, had no criminal record.

Krycia’s lawyer, Jason English, argued that his client’s actions were justified.

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“While we are sorry any time that a life is lost, we do believe that the actions were reasonable under the facts and justified under the law,” he said in a statement.

Since the incident, Krycia has been placed on paid administrative duty and Taylor remains on leave without pay in connection with the killing of Mr. Ramos, according to Austin’s interim police chief, Joseph Chacon.

According to his legal team, Taylor was protecting himself after Mr. DeSilva refused to drop the knife and came within four feet of him.

“What happened was undoubtedly tragic, particularly if it is true the man was experiencing a psychiatric episode, but in no way was this murder,” Ken Ervin and Doug O’Connel, Taylor’s attorney said in a statement.

Bail was set at $100,000 for both officers and the Court has set conditions such as a surrender of all firearms, including any firearm issued by APD, and they are no longer allowed to work with law enforcement or security companies that require them to possess a gun.

Both cases are scheduled to be prosecuted by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit and are pending in the 167th Judicial District Court.

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