On June 8, 2016, the grand jury voted not to indict Brian Miller, a white police trainee, for shooting and killing Christian Taylor on August 7, 2015.
Taylor, a 19-year-old black man, was a student and football player at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. On the night he was killed, police officers claimed they arrived at a car dealership in response to reports of a suspected burglary and saw Taylor vandalizing cars via surveillance video. Brian Miller entered the dealership building without his partner, though his partner was more experienced and Miller’s training officer.
Neither officer was wearing a body camera, and no footage exists to explain how an altercation erupted between Miller and Taylor; as the second officer entered and attempted to use a taser to subdue Taylor – who was unarmed – Brian Miller shot him four times in the neck, chest, and abdomen. According to Police Chief Johnson, Taylor never made any physical contact with either officer on scene. Nevertheless, he was killed.
Christian Taylor was a strong supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and on social media he often expressed fear of the police and criticism of the justice system. In August 2014, he tweeted: “I don’t feel protected by the police,” and in December 2014, he tweeted, “Police taking black lives as easy as flippin a coin, with no consequences.” Shortly before his shooting, in April 2015, he tweeted: “I don’t wanna die too young.”
Taylor’s death came only two days before the one year anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brian Miller was fired from the police force on August 11, 2015 for “inappropriate judgment” in handling the situation, but has not faced prosecution for the murder of Christian Taylor.