FBI aid sought in Texas probe of unarmed black man shot dead by police

Police in Arlington, Texas have invited the FBI to take part in an investigation into the police killing of a unarmed black man who was allegedly burglarizing an auto dealership. A small group of protesters hold a vigil in Arlington after the shooting.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 8, 2015) (NBC) – The FBI has been asked to help investigate a white police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager suspected of driving a vehicle through the window of a car dealership in Arlington, Texas, the city’s police chief said on Saturday (August 8).

The shooting death early on Friday of 19-year-old college football player Christian Taylor came two days before the one-year anniversary of the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in an encounter with a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, that ignited protests in many U.S. cities.

Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said at a news conference his department asked Tom Class, special agent in charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas office, to participate in the probe of Taylor’s death and review investigative work and findings.

“Our affirmation to our commitment for transparency includes inviting Tom Class, Special Agent in charge of the FBI Dallas field office the opportunity to participate in this case and review all investigative work and investigative findings,” said Johnson.

Taylor, who was unarmed, was shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller, 49, an officer still undergoing training with the department, police said.

Miller responded to a call about a burglary at the dealership in Arlington, a city in the Dallas area, after Taylor drove a vehicle into the front of the building, Johnson said.

Miller and other officers created a perimeter and approached Taylor, according to police.

Johnson said as officers stood outside the building, they made verbal contact with Mr. Taylor through the glass wall, instructing him to lie on the ground.

Taylor instead ran to another part of the building, where he tried to escape through a locked door, the police chief said.

In the confrontation that ensued, Miller fired four rounds at Taylor and another officer fired a Taser, Johnson said.

Miller was not injured, Johnson said. The police chief declined to say how close Miller was to Taylor when he opened fire, and he did not provide more details on the shooting when asked by reporters.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office found Taylor, who died at the scene, had gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen, according to online records.

Taylor, who was from Arlington, was entering his sophomore year at Angelo State University, where he played defensive back on the school’s football team.

The 911 call was made from a security company that was observing the suspect on a camera outside the car dealership, police said.

Later on Saturday a crowd gathered outside the Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington to hold a vigil for Talyor.

Some held candles in honor of Taylor while others consoled one another.

U.S. police have in recent months come under increased scrutiny over their use of force, particularly when dealing with black and Latino people.