Texas policeman who killed black teenager sacked

Policeman Brad Miller could also face criminal charges for shooting unarmed Christian Taylor in car dealership.

    Officer Brad Miller has been fired for killing Christian Taylor, 19 [Arlington Police Department via EPA]
    Officer Brad Miller has been fired for killing Christian Taylor, 19 [Arlington Police Department via EPA]

    A policeman who killed an unarmed black teenager during a suspected burglary at a Texas car dealership last week has been fired for "making decisions that had catastrophic outcomes", the city's police chief said.

    Arlington officer Brad Miller, 49, could also face criminal charges once police complete their investigation, Will Johnson, the police chief, said.

    Johnson said Miller caused a deadly confrontation that put him and other officers in danger.

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    The death of Christian Taylor, 19, came two days before the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

    Brown's death helped spur protests and a nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement to demand reforms to how police treat minorities.

    Called to the scene of a suspected burglary early on Friday, Miller pursued the college footballer through the broken glass doors of a car dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer, Johnson said.

    Instead of setting up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted Taylor and ordered him to get down on the ground, Johnson said. Taylor did not comply. Instead, he began "actively advancing towards Officer Miller," Johnson said.

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    Miller's field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, drew his own Taser. The training officer heard a single pop of what he thought was Miller's Taser, but Miller actually had drawn his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, Johnson said. He fired his gun three more times, Johnson said.

    Taylor was a graduate of an Arlington high school and a football player at Angelo State University in West Texas. Miller is white.

    Taylor's death came two days before the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old shot in Ferguson, Missouri [EPA]

    There is no video of the shooting itself, though security camera footage from Classic Buick GMC dealership's parking lots show Taylor walking around and damaging some vehicles.

    Before his final confrontation with Miller, Taylor allegedly held up a set of car keys and told another officer that he intended to steal a car, Johnson said. He had driven a vehicle through the glass front doors of the showroom and, after officers arrived, was slamming his body into the side of a different part of the building to try to escape, the chief said.

    "It is clear from the facts obtained that Mr Taylor was non-compliant with police demands," Johnson said.

    But the chief said he ultimately decided Miller's mistakes required his firing. He said it would be up to a grand jury to decide whether Miller's actions were criminal.

    Miller joined the police department in September and graduated from the city police academy earlier this year.

    He was still undergoing field training and assigned to a more senior officer, though he was a licensed police officer authorised to carry a weapon.

    Police said Miller cannot appeal his firing because he was a probationary employee. Police spokesman Tiara Richard said Miller had retained a lawyer.

    The Arlington Municipal Patrolman's Association had no comment.



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