A video posted to YouTube Sunday* may raise new questions about the 2014 fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Twenty-year-old Dillon Taylor was fatally shot by Salt Lake City police officer Bron Cruz on August 11, 2014, just one week after the controversial police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Like Brown, Taylor did not have a weapon on him at the time. Still, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled in September that Cruz had reason to believe Taylor was attempting to pull a gun from his pants, effectively exonerating Cruz of any wrongdoing in the incident.
But a newly posted YouTube video may cast doubt on Gill’s decision. In it, Cruz can be seen exiting his vehicle and walking behind Taylor. Cruz draws his gun and yells at Taylor, who turns around, and with his hands near his waistband, does not immediately respond. Then, Cruz shoots Taylor.
According to KSL-TV, Gill says Taylor actively refused to comply with Cruz’s instruction to put his hands up. Taylor’s family, meanwhile, insists he simply did not hear Cruz because of the headphones in his ears, which, they say, were playing music. Under the law, a police officer is permitted to use deadly force if he perceives an imminent threat to his life.
Approximately 40 seconds into the video, earbud headphones can be seen extending from Taylor’s pocket. Seconds later, they can be seen in Taylor’s ears. As Taylor’s two companions – his 22-year-old brother and 21-year-old cousin – begin to scream, Cruz puts a visibly injured Taylor in handcuffs. Cruz turns Taylor over and, checking his pockets, appears to discover that Taylor does not have a weapon.
Gill did not prosecute Cruz in Taylor’s death. That may be because, as seen in the video, Taylor turned toward Cruz with his hands on or near his waistband— a gesture officers may recognize as an attempt to draw a weapon. Cruz may have also believed Taylor had a weapon because, according to KSL-TV, he matched the description provided by a 911 caller who said three men flashed a gun.
The Facebook group Justice for Dillon Taylor boasts nearly 6,000 members.
*Warning: The video contains graphic footage. Please click through to watch the video at your own discretion.