Police Chief Will Johnson fired Officer Brad Miller, 49, for a series of “troubling decisions” that Miller made while investigating a break-in at the Classic Buick GMC dealership in Arlington, Texas. Miller, who is white, had graduated recently from the Police Academy, but he was still undergoing on-the-job training with the department when he shot Christian Taylor, 19, four times killing him. Taylor, who was black, was unarmed. Reuters is reporting,
Johnson said investigators would prepare a criminal case in the matter for prosecutors to present to a grand jury, which can decide whether to charge the officer. He said his office has been in contact with federal officials but there was no formal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The police chief said Miller tracked the suspect on his own without properly communicating with other officers. He cornered him in a room in the dealership, where Taylor began approaching him and refused commands to surrender.
By that time, training officer Wiggins was with Miller. As Taylor approached, Miller fired a single shot and Wiggins fired a Taser. Miller then fired three more shots to subdue the suspect, the police chief said.
Reading between the lines, I think it’s pretty clear that Miller went off on his own without telling his training officer where he was going and when his training officer caught up to him in the room where Miller had cornered Taylor, he did not see a necessity to use deadly force in self-defense against an unarmed Taylor. Instead, he fired his taser.
Looks like the training officer and the police chief have decided that Miller acted recklessly or in a grossly negligent manner. Assuming the prosecutor agrees, the grand jury probably will indict Miller for manslaughter.
Although four shots indicates an intent to kill, which could be the basis for a murder charge, I think that outcome may be less likely because of the general propensity to protect cops.
The FBI has declined to get involved.