The Arlington (Texas) Police officer who shot and killed 19-year-old college student Christian Taylor was fired for “exercising poor judgment,” Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson told reporters Tuesday. Officer Brad Miller, 49 and a rookie on the force, was terminated after Johnson said he reviewed all the pertinent evidence of what occurred on the night of August 7 that ultimately resulted in the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer.
CNN reported August 10 that Brad Miller, who was in the last weeks of his training period with Arlington Police, had been fired from his position as an officer with agency. During the shooting incident in question, Miller had chased Chrisian Taylor into a car dealership alone, breaking police procedure, and subsequently shot and killed the suspect. Chief Johnson said, “Based on a preponderance of evidence available to me and the facts revealed by the investigative team, I have decided to terminate Officer Miller’s employment with the Arlington Police Department for exercising poor judgment.”
Miller entered the car dealership building alone after he and his partner had received notification from dispatch of a burglary and repeated calls for surrender had gone unanswered. He would later tell investigators that he feared that Taylor would be overpower him after he turned and began moving toward Miller, allegedly cursing as he moved. The rookie was joined by his 19-year-veteran training officer, where Miller, the Washington Post noted, fired a warning shot at Taylor. But when Taylor continued his advance, Miller shot him three times in the chest, according to police, while his training officer used a Taser.
Johnson said, according to CNN, “This unilateral decision to enter the building and to continue the 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 an unrecoverable outcome.”While pointing out that a separate criminal investigation was ongoing, Johnson also told reporters once complete, all reports would be submitted to the Tarrant County district attorney for consideration and submission to the grand jury. “The grand jury will decide if the use of force in this incident rises to the level of criminal prosecution,” he added.
Brad Miller’s attorney, John Snider, said, according to the Post, the former Arlington Police officer “made decisions . . . to save his and other officers’ lives.” He said the firing of his client was just a ploy to “appease anti-police activists.”
The case presents problems for the grand jury in that there are no videos of the incident itself. There are no police body cams, as Arlington Police do not as yet require the devices for its officers. There is also no dash cam video from the officers’ vehicle. There is, however, security camera video of Christian Taylor kicking in the windshield of a Ford Mustang and another round of footage, moments later, showing him crashing through the front of the car dealership building.
Former officer Brad Miller’s firing is just one of a handful of cases in the United States this year where an officer involved in a shooting incident where the officer involved has been fired or charged with a crime. According to the Washington Post, there have been 600 cases of people having been shot and killed by police so far this year alone.
But Christian Taylor’s father said he found little comfort in the firing of the the Arlington Police officer. “Relieved wouldn’t be the word,” Adrian Taylor told The Washington Post in a separate subsequent telephone interview. “We are all human and make mistakes and there isn’t a winner in this. You know what I mean? We are both losers.”