ABOVE PHOTO: Christian Taylor (Angelo State University via AP)
By Jamie Stengle and Emily Schmall
ARLINGTON, Texas — The brother of a college football player killed by police at a Texas car dealership has questioned whether deadly force was necessary and is puzzled by security footage showing the unarmed 19-year-old breaking into a car and crashing his vehicle into the glass showroom wall.
The confrontation with officers that resulted in Christian Taylor’s death early Friday wasn’t captured on video because the showroom in Arlington has no interior surveillance cameras and the city’s police officers don’t wear body cameras.
Joshua Taylor, 23, told The Associated Press on Monday that he’s not angry with police but thinks “things could have been handled differently.”
Although there’s video from the Classic Buick dealership lot, there is no footage from inside the showroom, making it difficult to form a clear picture of what happened, Taylor said.
“It’s pretty much their story against somebody who’s not here anymore,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to, I guess, justify or clarify, but at the end of the day I know my brother. I know he wouldn’t attack any officer or anybody in authority at all, or attack anybody for that matter.”
In interviews with the AP, Taylor’s parents declined to talk about the fatal confrontation. His mother, Tina Taylor, said police have not told them what prompted the shooting of their son, who graduated from high school in Arlington last year and was playing football at Angelo State University in San Angelo.
Sgt. Christopher Cook said investigators cannot yet offer details on the confrontation because they have not completed all of their interviews.
Arlington police have said officers responding to a burglary call early Friday found Christian Taylor roaming inside the dealership showroom. Police say the officers told Taylor to surrender and lie down on the ground, but he refused and tried to run away. The officers pursued him.
Police have said the incident ended with officer Brad Miller shooting his service weapon four times, hitting Taylor at least twice. Miller, who joined the force last year and was still completing his field training, has been placed on administrative leave.
The officer with Miller – his field training officer, a nearly two-decade veteran – used his Taser, but not a gun.
There is no video of the shooting. David Lancaster, general manager at Classic Buick GMC, said the showroom has an alarm system but no video surveillance. Arlington police do not wear body cameras.
In a recording of radio traffic of the incident, someone can be heard saying, “We’ve got shots fired,” about two minutes after officers say they’ve spotted a man inside the building.
Police say they are investigating Taylor’s death as a possible criminal case and will determine whether department rules were broken. The shooting comes amid increased scrutiny nationwide of police use of force, particularly in cases involving black suspects. Taylor was black; Miller is white.
About 35 demonstrators gathered outside Arlington police headquarters Monday evening to protest the shooting. There were no arrests during the demonstration.
Joshua Taylor said he saw his brother sleeping Thursday night, just hours before the incident, and that he hadn’t indicated he planned to go out.
Family and friends said Taylor was a good student who had become quite spiritual.
“He was a very outspoken person, very smart, he effortlessly made straight A’s,” said Jordan Smith, 19, who lives across the street from the Taylor family and played football with him in high school.
Smith said Taylor was “charismatic,” “even-headed” and had been passionately recruiting his friends to attend church.
His father agreed.
“His relationship with God had escalated to the point where he’d talk about it so much, you’d think he was a preacher,” Adrian Taylor said.
Martin Adegbesan, 20, said he couldn’t make sense of what he saw his friend doing on the dealership video.
“Christian in his right state of mind would never do the things he did in that video,” Adegbesan said.