FBI aid sought in Texas probe of unarmed black teen shot dead by police

Arlington police officer Brad Miller, who is accused of shooting black teenager Christian Taylor, who was unarmed.
Arlington police officer Brad Miller, who is accused of shooting black teenager Christian Taylor, who was unarmed.PHOTO: REUTERS

DALLAS (REUTERS) - The FBI has been asked to help investigate a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager suspected of driving a vehicle through the window of a car dealership in Arlington, Texas, the city's police chief said on Saturday.

The shooting death early on Friday of 19-year-old college football player Christian Taylor came two days before the one-year anniversary of the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in an encounter with a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, that ignited protests in many US cities.

"This instance has not occurred in isolation but rather it has occurred as our nation has been wrestling with the topics of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct,"Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said at a news conference.

Johnson said he had asked Tom Class, special agent in charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Dallas office, to participate in the probe of Taylor's death and review investigative work and findings. The FBI could not immediately be reached to comment.

Taylor, who was unarmed, was shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller, 49, an officer still undergoing training with the department, police said. Miller was placed on leave after the shooting.

Miller responded to a 911 call from a security company about a burglary at the dealership in Arlington, a city in the Dallas area, and arrived to find Taylor had driven a vehicle into the front of the building, Johnson said.

Miller and other officers approached Taylor as he was inside the building, telling him to lie on the ground, according to police.

Taylor instead ran to another part of the building, where he tried to escape through a locked door, the police chief said.

In the confrontation that ensued, Miller fired four rounds at Taylor and another officer fired a Taser, Johnson said.

Miller was not injured, Johnson said. The police chief declined to say how close Miller was to Taylor when he opened fire, and he did not provide more details on the shooting when asked by reporters.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office found Taylor, who died at the scene, had gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen, according to online records.

Taylor, who was from Arlington, was entering his sophomore year at Angelo State University, where he played defensive back on the school's football team.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, citing court records, reported Taylor was sentenced to six months deferred-adjudication probation in December for possession of a controlled substance.

A police report indicated the case resulted from a traffic stop that turned up 11 hydrocodone tablets Taylor had without a prescription for the pain killer, according to the newspaper.