FBI Called to Join Investigation of Unarmed Black Teenager's Death

August 9th 2015

Nicole Charky

Police in Arlington, Texas are asking the F.B.I to help investigate the death of a 19-year-old, unarmed Black man who was shot and killed inside a Dallas-area car dealership, according to the New York Times.

The news of the F.B.I. adding a separate investigation to the ongoing Arlington Police Department investigation comes amid surveillance footage released late Saturday that shows the final moments before Christian Taylor, a sophomore college football player Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas was fatally shot by a police officer in training at the car dealership, according to NBCDFW.

The video shows Taylor parking his car, walking into the dealership wearing sunglasses, then jumping on cars in the lot. Minutes later, he gets back inside his vehicle and begins to drive past the security gate at the entry of the dealership and what appears to crash into the front entry of the building.

Although the exact details are not immediately clear, police indicate that Officer Brad Miller, 49, was among the officers responding to a burglary call at Classic Buick GMC in Arlington, Texas when they discovered that someone had crashed a vehicle into the front window, police said in a statement. Miller, who was under supervised training when the shooting happened, had fired his weapon, USA Today 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.

Miller graduated from the police academy in March and apparently had no prior police experience before this job. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, The Times reports.

Arlington Police Department Chief Will Johnson said that Miller shot Taylor as he attempted to get away from police officers, according to The Times. He warned that the pending investigation could be "lengthy and at times frustratingly slow" but pledged it would be "a transparent, thorough and fair investigation." Thomas M. Class Sr., the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Dallas division was also invited to participate, he said at a news conference Saturday night. He added "an acknowledgment that this instance has not occurred in isolation, but rather has occurred as our nation is grappling with the problems of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct."

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

On the one-year anniversary of 18-year-old Michael Brown's death at the hands of a police officer in Ferugson, Missouri, the death of Taylor is again calling police-involved shootings of unarmed minorities into question.

And as word of Taylor's death spread on social media under the hashtag #ChristianTaylor, many people began asking what happened to the unarmed college student, including athlete Serena Williams.