The Texas police officer who shot and killed an unarmed college football player last week has been fired for “exercising poor judgment,” Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson says.
Officer Brad Miller was reportedly near the end of his field training when he shot Christian Taylor, 19, multiple times on August 7 at a car dealership in Arlington. Taylor allegedly drove his SUV through the front window of the dealership showroom, Johnson said.
Authorities have said that Taylor did not comply with initial calls to surrender.
Since Miller was still in field training at the time of the shooting, he is not allowed to appeal the firing.
“This is a extraordinarily difficult case,” Johnson said. “Decisions were made that have a catastrophic outcome.”
Johnson said the criminal case will continue and police will present it to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office. From there the case will go to a grand jury.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Johnson said he found some of the decisions made on the scene to be “troubling” and went through the series of events leading up to the shooting. He said as officers arrived on scene, Taylor and the officer were on the other side of locked doors at the showroom.
The officer noticed that Taylor had a “bulge” in the pocket of his shorts, which Johnson said later turned out to be a wallet and cell phone. Johnson said that not knowing what the bulge was, it was reasonable for officers to assume that Taylor was armed.
Miller, having spotted the broken glass where Taylor had driven his vehicle through, entered into the showroom. Taylor ran and tried to break through a glass door to get out, Johnson said.
Miller followed Taylor and told him to get on the ground. Taylor turned to Miller and began to “rapidly approach while cursing,” Johnson said. He said Miller retreated while giving commands.
Miller’s training officer, Cpl. Wiggins, saw Taylor approaching Miller and removed his Taser from its holster. Wiggins heard a pop and thought it was Miller firing his Taser, but it turned out to be Miller discharging his weapon the first time, though it’s unclear if he hit Taylor.
Taylor continued to advance toward Miller, who then fired his weapon three more times. Taylor was about seven to 10 feet away from Miller when the shots were fired. During the course of the incident, there was no physical contact between Miller and Taylor, Johnson said.
Johnson said that Miller’s decision to go in alone, without a plan and without officers having established a perimeter, was not a good strategy. He said Miller, who believed he was alone in the showroom, feared that Taylor could overpower him. He was unaware that his field training officer was with him.
Arlington police are currently sharing information and facts of the case with the FBI as they become available and Johnson said the FBI is prepared to “act accordingly if it’s determined that a civil rights violation occurred.”