Dillon Taylor, the unarmed 20-year-old killed by police in Salt Lake City on August 11, was backing away from the police officer who shot him when the officer opened fire, video of the fatal shooting released Tuesday shows. But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said that what he saw in the video convinced him that the killing was “justified.”
The video, taken from a body-mounted camera worn by Officer Bron Cruz, who said that the retreating 20-year-old made him feel “scared to death,” can be viewed above. But be warned, the video clearly shows the death by gunfire of Dillon Taylor and could prove very disturbing.
Only about 30 seconds elapses between the moment Cruz exits his police cruiser with gun already drawn, and the moment he shoots Taylor. When Cruz first confronts Taylor, the young man is walking away with his back turned.
Taylor’s brother, who was also at the scene, said that Dillon was listening to music through headphones and could not hear the officer’s commands. Gill said that headphones were found on Taylor’s body, but investigators did not know whether he was wearing them or not when Cruz approached.
As the video shows, Taylor then turns around with his hands on his waistband. He then lifts his shirt, and that’s when Cruz shoots him, believing Taylor had a gun in his waistband, which he did not.
“I was scared to death,” Cruz said in a sworn deposition. “The last thought I had go through my mind when I pulled the trigger, and I’ll never forget this, was that I was too late. I was too late. And because of that, I was gonna get killed. Worse, my (partner) was gonna get killed.”
Taylor can be heard saying something seconds before he was shot. According to the district attorney’s office, Taylor’s words were, “no, fool,” but from the audio on the body cam recording, the words are difficult to discern.
Gill met with Taylor’s family prior to announcing his decision Tuesday morning, and they were upset when they heard the officer who killed Dillon Taylor would not be disciplined.
“I think they were certainly upset with my decision,” said Gill, “in the sense that they think since he didn’t have a weapon that he shouldn’t have been shot.”
The full video of the Dillon Taylor killing runs about seven minutes, and reportedly depicts police handcuffing the mortally wounded Taylor prior to summoning medical assistance for the fallen young man. But The Salt Lake City Tribune, which posted the video said that it chose to delete the final six minutes of the video because they were overly graphic.