Could Newly Released Officer Body Cam Footage of Dillon Taylor’s Shooting Cause a ‘Ferguson-Like’ Situation Among Whites?
Dillon Taylor was shot and killed by police officers almost ten months ago in Salt Lake City, Utah. The incident was caught on body cam footage that has just now been released and shows, in graphic intensity, police officer Bron Cruz approaching Taylor with his gun drawn and shooting him after shouting commands to take his hands out of his pockets.
Taylor's story is particularly tragic, however, because he was wearing iPod-style headphones and couldn't hear the officer's commands. When he lifted up his shirt, Cruz and the other officer thought that he was posing a threat and shot him dead.
A Salt Lake district attorney ruled that Cruz wasn't in the wrong for shooting Taylor, saying that the supposed threat that Taylor posed was "reasonable" based on the situation. A call had been made earlier to police that a man in the area was brandishing a gun.
Taylor was 22 years old and engaged to be married to a woman carrying his child. It's that tragic personal detail that brings this situation into even sharper focus.
With cases of police brutality gaining popular attention and suspicion around the country, Taylor's shooting is another important moment. Will this be the catalyst for a "Ferguson-like" situation among whites?
For my part, I think (and hope) not. While it is tragic that Taylor was simply listening to tunes too loudly in an intense, dangerous situation, the police were also responding to a situation deemed to be dangerous and hazardous.
Instead of demonizing police for this and other cases of officer-involved shootings, perhaps these deaths have given us the momentum we need to revisit the situations where officers fire their guns and the training they undergo.
No one who hasn't been an officer can imagine the stresses and dangers of the job, but Taylor's shooting brings the need for change into clear focus. Hopefully his tragic death can be another catalyst for helpful change and dialogue.