If Only All Police Wore Body Cams?
All this time that we’ve reported on law enforcement killing unarmed civilians, and there are times I feel overwhelmed because the cases, and knowledge of cases, come faster than I can keep up. Because of new situations almost weekly, if not daily, it’s also difficult to follow-up on cases previously reported.
There are times I feel hopeless because each time we think we have an answer to reduce or stop the number of police involved shootings of unarmed citizens, we find the end result is always up to a human being who listens to the story of the cop who fired the gun. The living have opportunity to say what they thought and felt. The dead do not.
I cry. This time, I cry for Dillon Taylor and I also cried for Bron Cruz, the cop that killed him. I cried for Cruz because he wanted so badly for Dillon to be armed, that while Dillon’s blood was running like a river, and he went into seizure, that did not hinder Cruz from searching Dillon not once, but twice. I cried for Cruz because he planted seeds of blame in his garden of life rather than seeds of compassion.
On August 26, 2014, I wrote a comment on this blog about Dillon Taylor. It was shortly after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Dillon was miles away, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not wearing a body cam when he shot Michael Brown numerous times killing him. Bron Cruz was wearing a body cam.
It didn’t take long for Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill to clear Cruz. On September 30, 2014, he released a statement that Cruz was justified in the South Salt Lake City shooting of 20-year-old Dillon Taylor in August. In November, the police department released the body cam video. Gill stated that Bron Cruz had good reason to think that Dillon was pulling a gun out of his pants. Thus, even with the body cam, it took one person with a title and authority to see things Cruz’s way.
As it turns out, witnesses believe that Dillon reached into his pants pocket to turn the music down on the music device. Dillon was wearing ear buds/headphones, and couldn’t hear Cruz’s commands.
Cruz shot Dillon once in the chest, and once in the stomach. The video from the dash and body cam is below, but be forewarned – it is graphic and disturbing.
Are body cameras the answer? It sure wasn’t the answer in this case.
R.I.P. Dillon Taylor