Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson promised Saturday that the investigation into the shooting death of 19-year-old Christian Taylor at an Arlington car dealership would be as transparent as possible. So far, he's keeping his word.
Tuesday evening, Johnson announced that Brad Miller, the trainee officer who killed Taylor, had been fired from the department for "exercising poor judgement."
Miller was part of a group of six officers who responded to Classic Arlington car dealership on Interstate 20. A security-monitoring company called police after spotting Taylor first driving his car through the dealership's gate, then cavorting around the dealership. Taylor could be seen on surveillance video hopping on the roofs of multiple cars and apparently kicking in a windshield. Eventually, Taylor drove his Jeep through the front doors of the dealership building.
According to Johnson, Miller said that he went into the dealership building after Taylor alone. The first officer to make contact with Taylor talked to him through a locked glass door. Taylor held up a set of car keys, Johnson said, and told the officer he was going to steal a car. The officer then told Taylor to get on the ground. Taylor refused to do what the officer said, according to the chief. As the cops on scene were surrounding the building, Miller found where Taylor had crashed the Jeep into the dealership, and went inside alone. Miller gave Taylor a set of commands, according to the chief, and Taylor ran away toward a lock door. After failing to break the door open, Taylor encountered Miller — who'd followed him. Taylor cursed at and came toward Miller. Dale Wiggins, Miller's training officer, went into the building after Miller. Soon after, Wiggins heard a pop, which he thought was Miller's taser — but was actually the first of four shots Miller fired at the unarmed Taylor. Both officers said they noticed a bulge in Taylor's pocket, but that turned out to be the teenager's wallet and cell phone. Taylor and Miller never made physical contact, according to the chief.
Taylor, a sophomore at Angelo State University, was hit in the neck, chest and stomach. Contrary to initial reports, the shooting itself was not captured on video. The only inside camera at the dealership is trained on the back offices. The shooting investigation will now go through a Tarrant County grand jury.
Arlington NAACP President Alicia Simmons praised the decision to fire Miller.
“We are pleased that this decision was swift. That the police didn’t need to wait for every piece of evidence to make this decision. The officer used poor judgement. We will now wait for the criminal portion of the investigation," she said in a statement.