Chief fires Texas officer who killed unarmed 19-year-old

People hold signs during a vigil for Christian Taylor on Monday. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

People hold signs during a vigil for Christian Taylor on Monday. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

ARLINGTON, Texas — A police officer who killed an unarmed college football player during a suspected burglary at a Texas car dealership was fired Tuesday for making mistakes that the city’s police chief said caused a deadly confrontation that put him and other officers in danger.

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

Called to the scene of a suspected burglary early Friday morning, Miller pursued 19-year-old Christian Taylor through the broken glass doors of a car dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer, Johnson said.

Instead of helping to set 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 toward Officer Miller,” Johnson said.

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, who is believed to have been 7 to 10 feet away from the officer, Johnson said. After Taylor continued to approach, Miller fired his gun three more times.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult case,” Johnson said. “Decisions were made that have catastrophic outcomes.”

An attorney for Miller did not have an immediate comment on Johnson’s announcement. Taylor’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Miller’s firing.

Taylor’s death 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.

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

There is no video of the shooting itself, though security camera footage from Classic Buick GMC dealership’s parking lots shows 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. While he said he had “serious concerns” about Miller’s use of deadly force, Johnson 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 authorized to carry a weapon. Police have previously said that he had never fired his weapon in the line of duty before.

But Johnson stressed that officers in training “have the skills, the decision-making process, the authority” to act correctly in the field.

Police said Miller cannot appeal his firing because he was a probationary employee.

While the FBI’s Dallas field office said Monday that it was deferring any investigation to local authorities, Johnson said he was in contact with FBI officials about the case.

“Although the investigation is not over, my hope is that the information shared today can assist in the healing process,” Johnson said. “Some communities and our nation have been torn apart by similar challenges.”ArlingtonBrad MillerChristian Taylorofficer-involved shootingShootingtaserTexasUSWill Johnson

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Christina Najjar, 30, a TikTok star known online as Tinx, is one of the social media influencers tapped by the White House to help promote COVID-19 vaccines among young people. (Alyson Aliano/The New York Times)
How an ‘influencer army’ is fighting vaccine lies

By Taylor Lorenz New York Times Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator… Continue reading

A great white shark swims off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. The term “shark attack” is slowly disappearing, at least as a phrase used by researchers and officials who have been rethinking how to describe the moments when sharks and humans meet. (Benjamin Lowy/The New York Times)
Don’t call them ‘shark attacks,’ scientists say

By Alan Yuhas New York Times On the beaches of Northern California,… Continue reading

Vickie Gaddy, a nurse at the intensive care unit, with a 44-year-old patient who later died, at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, July 27, 2021. Doctors at the hospital say more younger people with COVID-19 are being sent to the ICU. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
New COVID surge at a California ICU: ‘When will this ever end?’

By Isadora Kosofsky and Shawn Hubler New York Times Two months ago… Continue reading

Most Read