Officer fired over shooting of unarmed Texas athlete. Is that enough?
Dozens of protesters showed up outside the Arlington, Texas, police station Tuesday night to demand Officer Brad Miller be charged with a crime.
The Texas police officer who shot and killed an unarmed college football player during a suspected burglary last week was fired on Tuesday for his actions and could face criminal charges.
Officer Brad Miller, who was still undergoing training with the department at the time, fatally shot 19-year-old Christian Taylor at a Dallas-area car dealership early Friday morning.
About 60 demonstrators showed up outside the Arlington police headquarters on Tuesday night to demand that Mr. Miller be charged with a crime. Many held signs with Mr. Taylor's name on them or signs reading "Unarmed? Don't shoot!" The protest was organized by the group Mothers Against Police Brutality.
“There are no winners in this situation,” said Christian’s father, Adrian Taylor Sr., to Reuters. “No matter what decision is made, it doesn’t bring my son back.”
After being called to the scene of the suspected burglary on the morning of August 7, Miller pursued Christian Taylor through the broken glass doors of the car dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer, according to Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson.
Rather than setting up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted Taylor directly and ordered him to get down on the ground, an order with which Taylor did not comply.
When Taylor began to advance toward Miller, the officer drew his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, who is believed to have been about 7 to 10 feet away. He fired a total of four shots. When Miller’s field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, heard the first gunshot, he initially thought the noise came from Miller’s taser.
"Decisions were made that had catastrophic outcomes," Chief Johnson said, and described Miller’s actions as “troubling.”
No video exists of the shooting, but footage from security cameras in the dealership’s parking lot shows Taylor walking around and damaging some vehicles. Prior to his confrontation with Miller, Taylor allegedly held up a set of car keys and told another officer that he planned to steal a car, according to Johnson. He had driven a vehicle through the glass doors of the showroom and was slamming his body into the side of a different part of the building in an attempt to escape after officers arrived.
The Arlington Police Department is investigating Taylor’s death as a possible criminal case. The department called on the Dallas FBI to assist with the investigation earlier this week, but the FBI declined the invitation.
"The Dallas FBI has full confidence in the ability of the Arlington Police Department and Tarrant County District Attorney's Office to conduct a thorough investigation of this matter," said Allison Mahan, a spokeswoman with the FBI's Dallas office, in a statement to an NBC Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate. "If in the course of the investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate.”
Taylor was a graduate of Arlington High School and a football player at Angelo State University in West Texas.
This report includes materials from the Associated Press and Reuters.