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Police Deadly Shootings

Another Black College Student Shot Dead by Police; FBI to assist in the investigation

By Frederick H. Lowe

The Arlington, Texas, police department has asked the Dallas office of the FBI to participate in the investigation into Friday morning’s shooting death of an unarmed black college student by an Arlington police officer.

Christian Taylor, an unarmed black college student, was shot to death by police
Christian Taylor, an unarmed black college student, was shot to death by police

“My request to the FBI in no way diminishes my confidence in the Arlington Police Department, ” Chief Will Johnson told reporters during a news conference later Friday about the death of Christian Taylor, who was shot four times by Brad Miller, a 49-year-old training officer.  The shooting occurred inside a closed car dealership. Taylor reportedly crashed his car into the dealership and broke the windshield of a car there.

A taser also was fired at Taylor, but Johnson said he did not know the sequence of events or who fired the taser. Miller was the only one who fired his gun, Johnson said. Miller said he shot Taylor after the two had a confrontation, but Johnson wasn’t sure if it was a physical or verbal altercation.

Taylor is one of 31 people killed by police so far in August. So far this year, 714th individuals have been killed this year by police, according to the website Killed by Police 2015.

The department has placed Miller on administrative leave.

Taylor, a student at Angelo State University, is the third unarmed, current or former black college student in the last few years that has either been shot to death by police or has died in police custody.

Jonathan Ferrell was shot to death in 2013 while seeking help following a car accident.
Jonathan Ferrell was shot to death in 2013 while seeking help following a car accident.

A trial is currently taking place in Charlotte, N.C., for the September 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell by Randall Kerrick, a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.

Ferrell, a 24-year-old former student at Florida A&M University, was shot 10 times by Kerrick after Ferrell sought help following a one-car traffic accident.

Dazed from the accident, Ferrell banged on a woman’s door for help, but she called police, saying a black man was attempting to burglarize her home. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail for a minor traffic violation
Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail for a minor traffic violation

In another case, Sandra Bland, a 37 year-old native of Naperville, Ill., was stopped by police in Waller County Texas, for improper signaling while making a lane change.

Texas State Trooper Brian Encina stopped Bland on July 10. She was driving to Prairie View A&M, her alma mater, to take a job. Encina arrested Bland and she was found dead in her jail cell on July 13, of an apparent suicide.

Bland and Taylor also have something else in common. They either tweeted or posted on their Facebook pages they believed police treated blacks unfairly. Taylor tweeted that he did not want to die young.

Their deaths and their comments before their deaths draw more attention to the issue, similar to Buddhist monks burning themselves to death through self-immolation to draw attention to North Vietnam’s push to get the United States to leave South Vietnam.

After Taylor’s death, Wimbledon tennis champion Serena Williams tweeted, “Are we all sleeping and this is one gigantic bad nightmare?”

 

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