ARLINGTON, Texas, Aug. 11 (UPI) — A police officer who shot and killed an unarmed college athlete while responding to a burglary alarm last week has been fired, Arlington, Texas, police Chief Will Johnson said Tuesday.
Brad Miller, a 49-year-old officer trainee fatally shot 19-year-old Angelo State University defensive back Christian Taylor after the student crashed an SUV into a car dealership showroom at around 1 a.m. Friday.
The college sophomore died at the scene, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said.
Johnson held a news conference Tuesday evening, saying Miller “exercised poor judgement,” leading to “cascading consequences.”
Miller’s “unilateral decision to enter the building alone and to pursue [Taylor] helped create an unrecoverable outcome,” Johnson said.
The training officer who was with Miller on the night of Taylor’s death, officer Dale Wiggins, was on routine administrative leave, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
A criminal investigation is also being conducted of the incident. Johnson said the results of that inquiry will be forwarded to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office when completed.
He said the police department asked the FBI to assist in the investigation, but the agency declined, saying it felt APD was fully capable of handling the investigation itself. Should it be determined there was a civil rights violation — Miller is white, Taylor was black — the FBI would become involved.
“This is a extraordinarily difficult case,” Johnson said.
Police said an altercation occurred when officers — responding to a burglary call at a car dealership — confronted Taylor, which led to the shooting. Taylor was accused of crashing through the glass in the front of the dealership and vandalizing a vehicle.
Anticipating public backlash, the department explained that it does not use body cameras, but is in the process of implementing them.
On Monday, the APD released police communications from the time of the shooting. The department said surveillance footage previously released along with police audio “grossly” misrepresent the facts because parts of the audio were removed.