A 19-year-old man was shot dead by a police officer at 1 a.m. Friday after an altercation in Arlington, Texas. Police say they have security video of the young man doing damage to a car dealership after he had driven his car through the security gates and right through the display windows of the premises.
However, when police arrived and a scuffle ensued, the camera was not positioned to view their struggle. Police say they are looking to see if there were other cameras on the premise that recorded the fight and shooting. The dead man, unarmed, was black, the police officer was white.
Christian Taylor was a sophomore football player, a defensive back, at San Angelo State University in Texas and was reportedly preparing to return to classes and his team when he was killed. The rookie officer who shot Taylor is 49-year-old Brad Miller, who graduated from the police academy in March; with Miller on the call was an officer described as Miller’s training officer, and other officers.
Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Rodriguez says the video they have shows Taylor driving his SUV through the metal gates onto the premises of the Classic Buick GMC dealership. He is then seen, Sgt. Rodriguez says, getting out of his SUV and doing damage to a vehicle in the lot before getting back into his SUV and driving through the plate glass windows of the showroom.
While Taylor was inside officers arrive and Taylor and Miller struggle.
Arlington Police say they will investigate the shooting and that the FBI is also doing so. “We’re having two independent investigations,” Sgt. Rodriguez told the Arlington Star-Telgram. “Criminal and administrative. As an agency, we take the loss of any human life as serious, but we owe it to our community to conduct a clear and transparent investigation to determine what exactly took place.”
Taylor’s family does not believe the police story.
“I think something is going on that somebody is lying about,” Taylor’s great uncle, Clyde Fuller said. “They say he’s burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn’t sound right.” Mr. Fuller added that his newphew was “a good kid.”
“I don’t see him stealing no car or nothing like that,” he said.
Taylor has no ciminal record but has a ‘deferred-adjudication probation’ for possession of a controlled substance. He was found to be illegally in possession of hydrocodone tablets in Septemer of 2013 and he had completed his probation sentence. Hydrocodone is an opiad pain medicatiion that can become addictive. It is sold on the streets for as much as ten or more times the price when getting it from a presription.
Travis Pride, Taylor’s football coach praised his former star and said he was a good and charismatic kid who was a leader on the team. Taylor had sent out a crytic, and now ominous, tweet just last week that simply read “I don’t wanna die too younggggg.”
In the days following Taylor’s death, Officer Miller was fired; as of this writing Miller has not been charged with a crime.