FBI Won't Investigate Texas Police Shooting Of Unarmed Black Teenager
The victim, identified as 19-year-old Christian Taylor, was fatally shot by a trainee officer during a burglary call at a car dealership in the early hours of Friday in the city of Arlington. Taylor was a member of the Angelo State University football team.
The FBI announced Monday that it would not participate in the investigation of the death of a 19-year-old, unarmed college football player in Arlington, Texas, on Friday, despite an invitation to do so from local authorities.
On Saturday, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson had invited two federal agents to participate in the investigation of Christian Taylor's death for "transparency purposes."
However, FBI public affairs spokesperson Allison Mahan told local media that the bureau had "full confidence in the ability of the Arlington Police Department and Tarrant County district attorney's office to conduct a thorough investigation of this matter."
"If in the course of the investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal civil rights violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate," she said.
Johnson had said his invitation for the FBI to join the investigation was not a reflection on the competence of local officers.
"This request in no way diminishes my confidence in the Arlington Police Department's ability to thoroughly investigate this incident or our ability to take appropriate actions based on the outcome of the investigative findings," Johnson said.
The victim of Friday's shooting was identified as Christian Taylor, a graduate from Mansfield Summit High School, who had committed to play football at Angelo State University in May of 2014.
In a statement, the Arlington Police Department said the incident took place when "officers were dispatched to a burglary call" in the early hours of Friday morning.
Taylor was first spotted by two officers in the showroom of a car dealership, where a private security company reported someone had been damaging vehicles, Johnson said during Saturday's press conference.
A dark-colored Jeep appeared to have smashed through the glass door of the building, Johnson said.
The two officers — a field training officer and a recruit in training — followed Taylor into the building, where a confrontation occurred, Johnson said.
During that confrontation, he said, the officer in training fired four times, Johnson said, striking Taylor several times. The field training officer also fired a Taser.
The exact sequence of events is still under investigation, Johnson said.
"We share [the community's] concerns and will provide this information when available," he said.
That will include the 911 call, radio traffic recordings, and security video from the area, he said. That information should be released within the next 10 days.
"If this shooting was not justified or authorized under the law, there will be consequences," he said.
About a week before he was killed, Taylor tweeted, "I don't wanna die too younggggg."
After his death, the message received thousands of retweets.
The 19-year-old also sent out thousands of tweets about motivation, women, and relationships. He also tweeted about recent high-profile deaths of black men and women who have died at the hands of police, including Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Sam Dubose, and Sandra Bland.
Surveillance footage was released by the dealership showing the moments before police arrived.
In the video, a man is seen running through the parking lot of the dealership.
The footage also shows the man, wearing shorts and sunglasses, climbing atop of a gray Ford Mustang and kicking the front windshield of the car. He then proceeds to jump on the car.
The man then drives through the barriers of the dealership and into the parking lot just before a blue patrol car is seen arriving.
During Saturday's press conference Johnson said it was not clear why Taylor was at the dealership.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has been identified as 49-year-old Brad Miller, who was undergoing supervised field training at the time of the shooting.
Miller has been with the Arlington Police Department since September 2014. He graduated in March this year.
On Friday, the Arlington Police Department said Miller had been placed on administrative leave.
"He will be placed on administrative leave as is routine in deadly force incidents," the statement said.
This latest fatal shooting comes at a time when police officers nationwide are under increased scrutiny over how they apply force in situations involving people of color.
Police said the department does not currently use body cameras, but is in the process of implementing a pilot program.
Surveillance footage from inside the dealership exists, according to police, but authorities say they are yet to find video capturing the shooting.
"The preservation of life and safety is our highest priority," police said. "The Arlington Police Department is saddened by this loss of life and will provide the community a clear and transparent investigation."