Christian Taylor Dead At 19, Police Continue To Kill Unarmed Black Teenagers
Early Saturday morning, just eight days later, he was shot dead in a reported struggle with a police officer in Arlington, Texas. According to reports and a statement from police spokesman Sgt. Paul Rodriguez, officers were responding to a burglary call around 1 am after a 911 call was placed by a security company that observed the suspect on a security camera outside the business. They arrived to find that someone had crashed a vehicle through the front window of the Classic Buick GMC car dealership.
“The officers went and confronted him. There was an altercation. An officer discharged his weapon and struck the suspect,” Rodriguez said.
Taylor, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:47 a.m., was not armed, according to Rodriguez.
The officer was identified by the police department as 49-year-old Brad Miller who is a recent graduate of the police academy that has been in field training and working under the supervision of a training officer. Rodriguez confirmed that other officers including the training officer and other officers were on the scene at the time of the shooting.
“We’re having two independent investigations — a criminal and administrative,” Rodriguez said. “As an agency, we take the loss of any human life as serious, but we owe it to our community to conduct a clear and transparent investigation to determine what exactly took place.”
Miller has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in situations where there is use of deadly-force.
How on earth does this keep happening? These headlines about young unarmed black men being killed by police officers are relentless, like some nightmarish version of "Groundhog Day." When did society evolve into a place where police officers are firing their weapons at unarmed teenagers at even the slightest hint of physical threat?
There haven't been many details released yet regarding exactly what Taylor was doing so please understand that at no point in this article is there an assertion that Taylor was or was not a criminal. Obviously crashing a car through the window of a car dealership is dangerous, criminal behavior. If he was responsible for that as well as for attempting to steal or commit other crimes then he absolutely deserved to be apprehended and brought to jail and eventually brought to justice.
That does not mean that he deserved to die or that killing him is justified. Just because someone breaks the law or is not a productive, law-abiding member of society doesn't mean that they should be gunned down. Unless he was putting the life of another civilian in danger or was pointing a gun at the officers, there is no conceivable reason for shooting the boy; let alone shooting to kill.
It doesn't matter if Taylor had crashed the car into the dealership and was doing lines of coke off the hood while holding a bag of stolen cash. Destruction of property, burglary or even physically resisting arrest do not warrant anything near a death sentence. Whether he was a good kid making a mistake, in the wrong place at the wrong time or he was willingly engaging in multiple criminal acts, he should still be alive. He was unarmed, outnumbered and the only other people at the scene were police officers.
In these situations where unarmed young men are killed, it seems that officers decide that their lives are in danger before every finding out if they actually are. Whether it's racism or a power trip or ignorance or a combination of all three, there is a cultural belief among many that law enforcement have the right to act as judge, jury and executioner. They do not.
Just because someone is a criminal doesn't mean they automatically deserve to die.
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