An unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer in Texas early Friday morning. College football player Christian Taylor was shot and killed by white police trainee Brad Miller after reportedly driving his car through the front window of a car dealership. Taylor's shooting death comes as the nation honors the one-year anniversary of the death of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, whose death triggered the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement and sparked a discussion about police shootings against young black men in America.
Authorities said Taylor, a 19-year-old football player for Angelo State University, drove his car through the glass doors of the Classic Buick GMC dealership in Arlington, Texas, around 1 a.m. Friday morning. Police promptly responded to a burglary call, believing there was a break-in, and found Taylor in the car showroom. Sgt. Paul Rodriguez of the Arlington Police Department added to The Dallas Morning News that the dealership's surveillance cameras recorded a man in the showroom.
According to the Arlington Police Department, officers confronted Taylor and there was an altercation. Authorities said at least one police officer discharged his weapon during the confrontation — that officer has been identified by the Arlington Police Department as Brad Miller, a 49-year-old police trainee who started working with the department last September. Miller, who had no previous police experience before joining the department last fall, will be placed on administrative leave, authorities said.
It's unclear at this time why Miller discharged his weapon, but the Arlington Police Department said it will conduct both criminal and administrative investigations into Taylor's shooting death. "The preservation of life and safety is our highest priority," the department said Friday in a statement on its website. "The Arlington Police Department is saddened by this loss of life and will provide the community a clear and transparent investigation."
Unfortunately, authorities said they don't have clear video footage of the incident, because Arlington officers do not wear body cameras. A body-camera pilot program is in the process of being implemented throughout the department.
However, there is surveillance footage from the car dealership. That footage has not been released at this time.
Taylor was about to enter his sophomore year at Angelo State University, where he was a defensive back for the school's football team. Taylor's great uncle, Clyde Fuller, told The Fort-Worth Telegram that his nephew was "a good kid" who wouldn't steal a car. “They say he’s burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn’t sound right," Fuller told the news source.
Taylor's coach at Angelo State, Travis Pride, added to The Fort-Worth Telegram that Taylor was "charismatic" and "a leader" on the football team. Angelo State head coach Will Wagner tweeted on Friday, "Heart is hurting."
Images: Screenshot/USA Today