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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Brother of athlete questions why he was killed by Arlington police

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The brother of a college football player killed by police at a Texas car dealership questions whether deadly force was needed in a confrontation that wasn’t captured on video because no surveillance cameras were inside the showroom and Arlington officers don’t wear body cameras.

Joshua Taylor, 23, told The Associated Press on Monday that he’s not angry with police but thinks “things could have been handled differently.” He’s also perplexed by security footage showing his brother, Christian Taylor, breaking into a car in the dealership lot and crashing his vehicle into the glass showroom before police arrived.

Although there’s video from the lot, there is no footage from inside the showroom, making it difficult to have a clear picture of what led up to the unarmed 19-year-old’s death, Joshua Taylor said.

“It’s pretty much their story against somebody who’s not here anymore,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to I guess justify or clarify, but at the end of the day I know my brother. I know he wouldn’t attack any officer or anybody in authority at all, or attack anybody for that matter.”

In interviews with the AP, Taylor’s parents declined to talk about the fatal confrontation because they are waiting on additional information from authorities.

Arlington police have said officers arriving to a burglary call early Friday found Christian Taylor roaming inside the showroom of the dealership. Police have said the officers told Taylor to surrender and lie down on the ground, but he refused. They saw him trying to escape the showroom and pursued him.

Police have said the incident ended with officer Brad Miller shooting his service weapon four times, hitting Taylor at least twice. Miller, who joined the force last year and was still completing his field training, has been placed on administrative leave.

The officer with Miller — his field training officer, a nearly two-decade veteran — used his Taser, but not a gun.

In a recording of radio traffic of the incident, someone can be heard saying, “We’ve got shots fired,” about two minutes after officers say they’ve spotted a man inside the building.

Police say they are investigating Taylor’s death as a possible criminal case and to determine whether department rules were broken.

The shooting comes amid increased scrutiny nationwide of police use of force, particularly in cases involving black suspects. Taylor was black; Miller was White.

About 35 demonstrators gathered outside Arlington police headquarters Monday evening to protest the shooting. There were no arrests during the demonstration.

Taylor’s cousin Richard McCray said he worries about how his five sons can be safe from police. “What am I supposed to tell them? I still haven’t found the words,” he said.

Taylor’s mother, Tina Taylor, said police have not told the family what directly preceded the shooting of their son, who graduated from high school in Arlington last year and was playing football at Angelo State University in San Angelo.

Sgt. Christopher Cook said investigators cannot yet offer details on the confrontation because they have not completed all of their interviews.

David Lancaster, general manager at Classic Buick GMC, said the showroom has an alarm system but no video surveillance. Arlington police do not have body cameras, so authorities have said there is no video showing the confrontation that led to the shooting.

Joshua Taylor said he saw his brother sleeping Thursday night, just hours before the incident. Christian Taylor hadn’t indicated that he planned to go out later.

Family and friends say that what happened is especially perplexing because Taylor was a good student who had become quite spiritual recently.

“He was a very outspoken person, very smart, he effortlessly made straight A’s,” said Jordan Smith, 19, who lives across the street from Taylor’s family home and played football with Taylor in high school.

Smith said Taylor was “charismatic,” ”even-headed” and had been passionately recruiting his friends to attend church.

His father, Adrian Taylor, said, “His relationship with God had escalated to the point where he’d talk about it so much, you’d think he was a preacher.”

Martin Adegbesan, 20, said he couldn’t make sense of what he saw his friend doing on the dealership video.

“Christian in his right state of mind would never do the things he did in that video,” Adegbesan said.

Stengle reported from Dallas. Associated Press writer Hannah Cushman contributed to this report from Chicago.

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