FBI to assist in probe of Texas football player’s death
ARLINGTON, Texas — The FBI will participate in the investigation into the death of an unarmed black Texas college football player who was fatally shot by a white officer during a burglary call at a car dealership, a suburban Dallas police chief said Saturday.
During a news conference Saturday night, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said a special FBI agent in charge of the Dallas field office would take part in the probe. He stressed it “in no way diminishes my confidence” in local officers to conduct the investigation.
Arlington officer Brad Miller was placed on administrative leave after the early Friday shooting of 19-year-old Christian Taylor. Police say the officer had never before fired his weapon in the line of duty.
Taylor was shot two days before the anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an unarmed, black 18-year-old whose death galvanized the “Black Lives Matter” movement and sparked protests that at times turned violent.
Johnson mentioned the current climate during the news conference, noting that “our nation has been wrestling with the topics of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct” and that his department would “pledge to act in a transparent manner.”
Some of the nationwide criticism of police use of force in the last year has happened online, and Taylor’s death resonated on social media, with some posts questioning the official account and calling for video to be released.
Johnson said Miller and another officer found Taylor “freely roaming” inside the dealership when they arrived. After Taylor tried to escape from another side of the building, the other officer used his Taser and Miller fired four rounds with his service weapon, Johnson said.
Police had gone to the Classic Buick GMC in Arlington, west of Dallas, after being contacted by a company that manages security cameras at for the car dealership. Police were advised that someone had driven a car onto the lot, started to damage another car, then drove his own vehicle into the glass front of the showroom, a police sergeant said earlier Saturday.
Police say they are investigating Taylor’s death both as a possible criminal case and to determine whether department rules were broken.
Miller, 49, has been with the Arlington Police Department since last September and has been working under the supervision of a training officer since his graduation from the police academy in March, according to police. Miller had no police experience before joining the Arlington police force.
Adrian Taylor, told KTVT-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth that his son was “just a good dude” who would give the shoes off his feet to someone in need. He said he didn’t know why Christian would have been at the car dealership at that time of night, but that he shouldn’t have been killed.
“You know, it could have been too much drinking, he could have been wrong place at the wrong time, he could have gotten something and he didn’t know what he was getting,” Adrian Taylor said.