Why FBI declined to investigate police shooting of Texas teen

The Arlington Police Department had called on the FBI to aid in the investigation of the fatal shooting of unarmed Texas teenager, Christian Taylor, but federal investigators have declined to participate in the inquiry.

G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Jaylen McCray (c.) participates in a vigil for Christian Taylor, Monday, in Arlington, Texas. Taylor was killed by police at a car dealership on Friday.

The FBI will not participate in the investigation into the death of an unarmed, black Texas teenager, who was fatally shot by a white police officer on Friday – at least, not at this point – according to Allison Mahan, a spokeswoman with the FBI's Dallas office.

Christian Taylor, 19, was fatally shot after police responded to a burglary call at a vehicle dealership in the Dallas suburb of Arlington.

The Arlington Police Department say they are currently investigating Mr. Taylor's death as a possible criminal case and will determine whether department rules were broken.

Police Chief Will Johnson, acknowledged the fatal shooting amid falling public confidence in police across the nation following video evidence of officers using excessive force. “It has occurred,” Chief Johnson said, “as our nation has been wrestling with the topics of social injustice, inequities, racism, and police misconduct.”

According to reports, Johnson promised a “vigorous, thorough and transparent” investigation into the shooting.

Johnson invited the outside scrutiny of the FBI, but the FBI declined to join the investigation at this point.

"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 Ms. Mahan, 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."

The Dallas Morning News editorial board praised the Arlington Police Department's handling of the incident saying that they are “setting the right tone” by carrying out a transparent investigation.

“That mistrust only grows when police brass circle the wagons. Chief Johnson has made a good start as Arlington finds itself in the spotlight in the national debate over police tactics,” Mondays editorial reads.

In interviews with the Associated Press, Taylor's parents declined to talk about the fatal confrontation. His mother, Tina Taylor, said police have not told them what prompted the officer to shoot her son.

Sgt. Christopher Cook said investigators cannot yet offer details on the confrontation because they have not completed all of their interviews.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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