Funeral for black Texas teen shot by white police officer
The funeral for 19-year-old Christian Taylor is scheduled Saturday afternoon at the Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas.
(Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Friends will join the family for a funeral for a black college football player shot fatally by a North Texas police officer answering a burglary call at a car dealership.
The funeral for 19-year-old Christian Taylor is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Central time Saturday at the Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington.
Taylor was unarmed when he was fatally shot Aug. 7 by an Arlington police officer responding to an after-hours burglary call. Security footage of the dealership lot shows Taylor busting out a car windshield, then driving his vehicle into the showroom.
Taylor was fatally shot while inside the business.
The rookie police officer who shot the Angelo State University student was fired Tuesday.
Arlington officer Brad Miller could also face criminal charges once police complete their investigation, Police Chief Will Johnson said.
Called to the scene of a suspected burglary early Friday morning, Mr. Miller pursued Christian Taylor through the broken glass doors of a car dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer, Chief Johnson said.
Instead of helping to set up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted Mr. Taylor and ordered him to get down on the ground, Johnson said. Taylor did not comply. Instead, he began "actively advancing toward Officer Miller," Johnson said.
Miller's field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, drew his own Taser. The training officer heard a single pop of what he thought was Miller's Taser, but Miller actually had drawn his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, who is believed to have been 7 to 10 feet away from the officer, Johnson said. After Taylor continued to approach, Miller fired his gun three more times.
"This is an extraordinarily difficult case," Johnson said. "Decisions were made that have catastrophic outcomes."
Taylor's death came two days before the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Taylor, who was black, was a graduate of an Arlington high school and a football player at Angelo State University in West Texas. Miller is white.
Before his final confrontation with Miller, Taylor allegedly held up a set of car keys and told another officer that he intended to steal a car, Johnson said. He had driven a vehicle through the glass front doors of the showroom and, after officers arrived, was slamming his body into the side of a different part of the building to try to escape, the chief said.
"It is clear from the facts obtained that Mr. Taylor was non-compliant with police demands," Johnson said.
But the chief said he ultimately decided Miller's mistakes required his firing. While he said he had "serious concerns" about Miller's use of deadly force, Johnson said it would be up to a grand jury to decide whether Miller's actions were criminal.
Miller joined the police department in September and graduated from the city police academy earlier this year.
He was still undergoing field training and assigned to a more senior officer, though he was a licensed police officer authorized to carry a weapon. Police have previously said that he had never fired his weapon in the line of duty before.