By the time Brendan Walsh reached the top of the downtown Austin parking garage near the Texas Capitol, the blazing June sun was beating down and his short sleeve button-up shirt was covered in sweat. He took in the sweeping view, analyzing the overlapping arrangement of buildings, trees, and power lines before comparing the panorama before him with a screenshot from a video he’d saved on his phone.
Walsh was referring to the Austin police shooting of sixteen-year-old Brad Levi Ayala with a beanbag round in late May, an incident captured by an unidentified camera, with an unknown operator, in a video clip that has gone viral. The grainy sequence, filmed from behind police, captures a key moment at the May 30 demonstration over the killing of George Floyd. An officer raises and fires a rifle moments before Ayala crumples to the ground, barely conscious and bleeding, a round lodged in his forehead. The teenager had been watching protesters from a hill overlooking the I-35 access road, about thirty yards from where the police were trying to clear the interstate.