On August 11, Officer Bron Cruz of Salt Lake City, Utah, shot and killed 20-year-old Dillon Taylor, who was unarmed, because Taylor fit the description of a 911 caller reporting a group of men flashing a handgun, according to the district attorney, who ruled the shooting justified. The D.A. said Taylor and two friends he was with were "making a scene" before approached by cops, according to the SaltLake Tribune, which reports:
Confronted by officers, the two men with Taylor held up their hands, while Taylor alone was "noncompliant."
Body-cam video shows that Taylor turned toward officers with his hands in his pants before hoisting his shirt — a gesture officers are trained to recognize as a possible weapon-draw.
"Nothing that Mr. Taylor did assisted in de-escalating the situation," [the district attorney Sim] Gill said. "If anything, it escalated things."
Taylor's shooting was justified, Gill said, not because he posed an actual threat, but because Cruz reasonably perceived a threat.
"Officer Cruz's belief that Dillon Taylor was armed with a gun and intended to use it against the officers was reinforced by Dillon's actions and the acts of others," Gill wrote in a letter to Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank. "By the time Dillon drew his hands from his waistband, Officer Cruz's belief that Dillon was presenting a weapon [and … would use the weapon against officers] was reasonable."
About that video, it was released with the D.A.'s announcement that the shooting was justified. You can watch that below:
The Salt Lake Tribune cuts the video off after the shooting, so it doesn't show cops handcuffing their "suspect," who died shortly after, or waiting for medical assistance to arrive.
Gill used the video to explain cops already had a plan for the group of men Taylor was in and why the shooting as it went down was justified:
I'd like him as my defense attorney, I think. He's a prosecutor.
There were some protests for Dillon Taylor after the fatal August 11 shooting, but they were not sustained in the way protests after the August 9 shooting of the unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Local protests over that shooting, and the police's heavy handed response, helped propel the story into the national news cycle. The parade of shootings since that have gone unnoticed certainly highlight the importance of community engagement on issues of police brutality.
h/t Scott F.