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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – In what he called a painful experience, Chief Will Johnson said that he fired the officer who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old burglary suspect Christian Taylor at an Arlington car dealership last week.
Once the investigation is complete Officer Brad Miller’s case will be given to the district attorney to take to a grand jury. “I have serious concerns about the rationale of the use of deadly force in this incident,” Johnson said. “These concerns, however, are best addressed in the criminal investigation process.”
Johnson said that officers surrounded the dealership after Taylor crashed through a glass wall in his SUV. Surveillance video showed the teen jumping on cars and breaking windows.
Six officers were on the scene, including Miller, who was in training, and his training officer, Cpl. Dale Wiggens. Johnson said that one officer confronted Taylor through a glass door, as Miller entered the showroom through the hole broken in the wall without telling Wiggens where he was going.
“Officer Miller exercised inappropriate judgment by entering the building alone,” Johnson said. “This unilateral decision to enter the building and to continue pursuit deeper into the building upon making contact with Mr. Taylor, along with failing to communicate with fellow officers or develop an arrest plan, created an environment of cascading consequences that produced in unrecoverable outcome.”
Johnson said that Miller yelled orders at Taylor, who ran toward another glass door to escape. Officers reported that Taylor repeatedly slammed into the door trying to break it. By now, Wiggens had caught up with Miller and had drawn his Taser as Taylor, he said, began approaching Miller. Johnson said that Miller retreated a few steps telling Taylor to stop. Miller fired his first shot at almost the same time that Wiggens fired his Taser.
Wiggens reported that Taylor kept going toward Miller, who fired three more times. Miller later reported he was fearful for his safety and did not know Wiggins was close by. “Although Cpl. Wiggins had joined Officer Miller in the building and was approximately four feet away, Officer Miller reported that he believed he was alone,” Johnson said. “His fear and feeling of isolation was a result of his poor decision to enter the building without assistance and without an arrest plan.”
Detectives will continue investigating the case as a criminal one.
“This is an extremely difficult and tragic case,” Johnson said. “Our community is hurting, the family is hurting, our department is certainly hurting and, quite frankly, our nation is hurting.”
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