The family of Dillon Taylor is suing the Salt Lake City Police Department for fatally shooting their unarmed son.
Officer Bron Cruz shot Taylor on August 11, 2014 outside a convenience store at the intersection of 2100 South and State Street. The shooting was captured on body cam.
Prosecutors never filed charges against the officer, citing the shooting as justified with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill saying that “given the facts of the the case and the body-cam video, the officer made the right decision to use deadly force.”
A 911 call was made claiming Taylor, his brother and his cousin were suspicious and flashing a gun. Reportedly, officers on scene ordered Taylor to stop and put his hands up but Taylor ignored the commands, walking away.
Seconds later, Taylor turns around and attempts to show his hands, that was when Officer Cruz fired his service weapon, hitting Taylor twice. On the officer body-cam video, posted below, Cruz can be heard saying, “what the hell were you reaching for man.”
The investigation determined that Taylor was not carrying a gun. Instead he was wearing headphones and had a cell phone on him.
“I was 100 percent, 100 percent convinced when I saw him turn around it was gonna be a gunfight. I knew he had that gun, that he’d be trying to kill us,” said Officer Cruz during the investigation.
He further stated that “I was scared to death. The last thought I had go through my mind when I pulled the trigger, and I’ll never forget this … was that I was too late. I was too late. And because of that, I was gonna get killed. Worse, my (partner) was gonna get killed.”
The shooting has sparked outrage among the community and Taylor’s family.
Gill, citing the family’s outrage, stated the following:
“I also told them that they don’t have to agree with my conclusions. But my job as district attorney is to be fair, to be thorough, to be as objective as we can be, and to piece together the information and call it as we see it,” he said. “I think they were certainly upset with my decision in the sense that they think since he didn’t have a weapon that he shouldn’t have been shot.”
In the lawsuit, which you can read here, the Taylor family depicts the situation as “shocking, despicable evidence of an entrenched departmental detachment from human life and the consequences of excessive deadly force.”
The lawsuit also claims that officers on scene illegally detained Taylor’s brother and cousin upon the shooting. The officers had no reasonable suspicion that the two had committed a crime.
Taylor, 20, made posts on Facebook days before the shooting that showed he was aware he had warrants out for his arrest for a prior burglary, that he was homeless and that he felt his life had “hit rock bottom.”
“I feel God can’t even save me on this one. It’s about my time soon.”
The Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office also noted that Taylor had a blood-alcohol content of 0.18 at the time of the shooting, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving.