Just days before the anniversary of the shooting death of Mike Brown and the civil uprising in Ferguson that thrust police brutality to the front and center of global conversation, another young unarmed man – one of far too many – met the same tragic early grave in Texas.
His name was Christian Taylor, and like Brown, the tidbits being released on the circumstances involving his untimely death have lead to far more questions than answers.
He was killed by a rookie cop in his late 40s who joined the Arlington police force approximately one month after Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson. And at 19, he was only one year older than Brown.
Officer Brad Miller, 49, was still in a 16-week field-training program when he took Taylor’s life early Friday morning. Arlington police have not said why he decided to become a cop in his late 40s or what kind of work he did beforehand.
Initial reports stated that Taylor had been trying to burglarize a car dealership and crashed his car through the shop window. They reported that when police arrived at the scene, a struggle ensued and that is when they fatally shot the unarmed college student.
However, a source within Anonymous leaked audio reportedly from the scene to an activist named T.K. Connor that paints a different picture.
“I just saw a guy in the building that has a hat on, a straw hat,” an officer states four minutes and 22 seconds into the audio.
“Whoa, we got shots fired!” an officer says about a second later.
Taylor was shot in his chest, neck and abdomen by Miller. The other officer reportedly tased him.
“Make sure they’re called, make sure they’re called!” Another officer, likely the shooter, exclaims.
In the audio recording, during the seconds between life and death, there is no indication that a struggle ensued. And considering the rapid change from the calm tone upon seeing Taylor to the tense tone of “shots fired,” there was not much time for an intense struggle requiring death.
The Arlington police department would not verify the audio, but they did tell the Huffington Post that “it’s possible that someone obtained portions of the audio from a police scanner website.”
And Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson also said that reports of a 1.5 second time span from the moment they spotted him to the moment they shot him are “completely inaccurate.”
The department has stated that they will not be releasing audio or video until all officers have been interviewed for the investigation, which is expected to take 7-10 days. The officers were not wearing body cameras.
A video of the incident that lead to the security company for the dealership calling the police has also been released. It shows Taylor jumping on a vehicle and acting erratically. His father suggested he may have possibly been under the influence.
“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,” Taylor’s father told local station KTVT. “I don’t know.”
His father described his son as a kind teenager who was concerned about others and had a big heart.
“A good dude, man, we’d be going over here to church and he’d pull over and give a homeless guy money, shoes if he needed and he’d have to go back home and get some more shoes because he gave his away. He was like that.”
Friends of the teen have also taken to social media to share videos of Taylor, happy, and alive.
— LT (@IfLiDontTrustU_) August 7, 2015
Taylor would have began his sophomore year in college this Sunday at Anglo State University, as a defensive back for the football team. He had previously tweeted his concern over police killings and his desire not to die young.
I hate seeing cop cars, I always think about somebody I lost😔
— October 13th (@he_got_sneaks) December 11, 2014
If I see a cop I hit a U-turn… I don't even have to be doing anything just the world we live in..
— October 13th (@he_got_sneaks) July 23, 2015
Our police system is a joke, when will we ever be protected?
— October 13th (@he_got_sneaks) December 24, 2014
“If this was not justified or authorized under the law there will be consequences,” Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson stated on Saturday. The department has also invited the FBI to work with them on the investigation.
Officer Miller is currently on administrative leave.
I don't wanna die too younggggg
— October 13th (@he_got_sneaks) July 31, 2015
Watch the press conference below.