Arlington Police Ask for Help Investigating Cop's Shooting of Unarmed Teen

Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said Saturday that his department has asked the FBI to help investigate the shooting death of 19-year-old Christian Taylor.

Taylor was shot early Friday morning by Arlington police officer Brad Miller. Taylor, who was unarmed, had driven his car through the glass front of a car dealership on I-20 in Arlington. The dealership's security company witnessed Taylor's breaking in on surveillance cameras and called the police. After police surrounded the building, Johnson said Miller, a member of the department since September 2014 and still participating in field training, and his training officer went into the dealership to arrest Taylor. As the two cops attempted to arrest him, an altercation occurred. Miller shot at Taylor four times, hitting him at least twice. Miller's training officer fired his taser, but did not fire his gun. Johnson said that he could not say whether the altercation between Taylor and the officers was physical, although he did say that Miller was uninjured.

The dealership has released footage of Taylor's action immediately leading up to his being shot. He jumps a gate to get onto the dealership. After wandering around the dealership and jumping on the hood of several cars, he returns to his Jeep and drives it through the gate. Additional video, including video of the shooting, reportedly exists, but Johnson said that it could not be released at this point in the investigation. 

Johnson acknowledged the context of Taylor's death, which came two days before the one-year anniversary the shooting death of another unarmed black teen, Mike Brown, by another white police, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Equally important to the investigative process is an acknowledgment that this instance has not occurred in isolation, but rather as our nation has been wrestling with topics of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct,” Johnson said. “We recognize the importance of these topics, the impact these issues have in communities throughout our nation, and pledge to act in a transparent manner in an effort to alleviate these concerns.”

Miller has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation into his killing of Taylor.

“If this was not justified or authorized under the law, there will be consequences,” Johnson said.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young