DALLAS (Reuters) - A white officer who fatally shot a black Texas teenager last week at a Dallas-area car dealership has been fired after making a series of troubling decisions, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said on Tuesday.
Christian Taylor, a 19-year-old college football player at Angelo State University, became the latest unarmed black man to die at the hands of a white police officer after officials said he was seen on security surveillance tape vandalizing cars at an auto dealership in Arlington.
Taylor was shot multiple times by Arlington police officer Brad Miller, 49, who was still undergoing training with the department, police said.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office found Taylor had gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.
Johnson said Miller made bad decisions in communicating with fellow officers and initially approaching Taylor on his own without a plan for arrest.
“This demonstrated questionable decision-making on the part of Officer Miller that contributed to the outcome of this event,” Johnson told a news conference. “I have found several decisions made on scene to be troubling,” he added.
There were five other officers on scene, including the training officer for Miller, Corporal Dale Wiggins, who tried to use a Taser to subdue the suspect, he said.
“Based on a preponderance of evidence available to me and facts revealed by the investigative team, I have decided to terminate Officer Miller’s employment with the Arlington police department for exercising poor judgment,” Johnson said.
Johnson said investigators would prepare a criminal case in the matter for prosecutors to present to a grand jury, which can decide whether to charge the officer. He said his office has been in contact with federal officials but there was no formal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The police chief said Miller tracked the suspect on his own without properly communicating with other officers. He cornered him in a room in the dealership, where Taylor began approaching him and refused commands to surrender.
By that time, training officer Wiggins was with Miller. As Taylor approached, Miller fired a single shot and Wiggins fired a Taser. Miller then fired three more shots to subdue the suspect, the police chief said.
Adrian Taylor Sr., the victim’s father, said “there are no winners in this situation.”
“No matter what decision is made, it doesn’t bring my son back,” he told Reuters.
Additional reporting by Marice Richter in Dallas; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler