Unarmed College Football Player Shot and Killed by Rookie Cop

August 8th 2015

Nicole Charky

A 19-year-old unarmed, Black college football player was shot and killed after an altercation with a police officer in training in Arlington, Texas after he allegedly drove an SUV into a car dealership showroom, according to media reports. 

Christian Taylor of Arlington was identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. He was a sophomore at Angelo State University in San Angelo, AP reports. 

“The officers went and confronted him. There was an altercation. An officer discharged his weapon and struck the suspect,” Sgt. Paul Rodriguez told The Star-Telegram. 

Police were responding to a burglary call at Classic Buick GMC in Arlington, Texas when they found that someone had crashed a vehicle into the front window, Arlington Police Department said in a statement. Officers apparently approached Taylor when an alleged struggle began, and at some point Officer Brad Miller, 49, who was under supervised training when the shooting happened, fired his weapon, USA Today reports. Miller graduated from the police academy in March and had joined the department in September. He apparently had no prior police experience before this job and will be placed on administrative leave. 

There is no video of the incident, as the department has yet to put a pilot body camera program in place, according to USA Today. It's unclear if the car dealership's cameras captured the incident. 

Taylor was a defensive back on his college football team who had expressed his fears of losing his life at the hands of police on Twitter. 

This fatal shooting comes amid a growing scrutiny of police violence across the country, particularly in cases involving unarmed black suspects. Taylor, who was a Black college athlete, is among several other unarmed, minority men killed in the past several years, including Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old from Ferguson, Missouri who was shot and killed by now former police officer Darren Wilson. Sunday, August 9, is the one-year anniversary of Brown's death. 

Details of the fatal shooting of Taylor are still emerging, but his family does not believe he was trying to burglarize the dealership and think there could be more to what happened. 

Clyde Fuller, Taylor's great-uncle, of Grand Prairie, Texas, described Taylor as "a good kid" and did not think Taylor was attempting to commit a crime. 

"They say he's burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn't sound right," Fuller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Taylor's football coach released this statement on Twitter late Friday.