Family of man shot, killed by Salt Lake police files lawsuit

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The family of Dillon Taylor, who was shot and killed by a Salt Lake City police officer in 2014, has filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake City and several police officers.

“They could have deescalated so many ways and they didn’t," said Gina Thayne, Taylor's aunt. "They just shot. They just fired. They took his life."

According to the complaint, filed Wednesday, Salt Lake City, “improperly trained and groomed through a vicious culture and cycle of shoot-to-kill first, avoid questions and accountability later.”

Thayne’s son was with Taylor the day he died in August 2014.

Salt Lake City Officer Bron Cruz came across the two, as well as Taylor’s brother, while responding to a report of a man carrying around a gun outside a 7-Eleven in South Salt Lake.

When Cruz approached, Thayne’s son and Taylor’s brother immediately stopped, however, Taylor continued walking.

Body camera footage showed Cruz demanding to see Taylor’s hands. Initially, Taylor keeps walking, but seconds later he turns and lifts up his shirt. The officer then fired two shots into Taylor’s chest and stomach, killing him.

“I think we need to draw some lines between perceived threat and imminent threat when it comes to police,” said Taylor’s brother, Cody.

The lawsuit argued that Cruz’s actions were the result of poor training by Salt Lake City.

Attorneys for the family point to a training video that they have not seen, but that they believe showcases police shootings in a manner to teach police to fear the public. They hope to obtain a copy of the video for evidence.

“Officer Cruz was brought up in a system that trained him to view Dillon as a threat and not look at the situation critically and take proper steps,” Attorney Robert Cummings said.

Cummings has also partnered with California attorney, Mark Geragos, to work the case. Geragos represented the family of Danielle Willard, who was shot and killed by a former West Valley City officer. The Willard family ultimately settled with the city for $1.4 million.

“You have average citizens going in and taking on this mentality where they’re willing to abuse their fellow citizens, and it’s wrong,” Cummings said. “And it’s a systemic problem.”

The lawsuit also lists South Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County as defendants.

FOX 13 News reached out to Salt Lake City for comment, but did not hear back.

12 comments

  • anotherbob

    The family of Dillon are out of their minds if they are blaming all of this on the officers. Dillon did not stop when he was told and then suddenly turned around and lifted up his shirt, what did he think was going to happen? Anybody of average intelligence these days should know that making fast/sudden movements around officers who are clearly there to investigate something is a bad idea.

      • DAN GRAY

        What part of behaving yourself don’t you get. Whirling around and reaching down around your waist when the police ask you to stop could get you killed.

    • ANOTHERANOTHERBOB

      Sounds like ANOTHERBOBSMOMMY has a foot fetish. It has nothing to do with this story but demonstrates it’s mentality.

  • Ron

    Salt Lake City do not pay out, I refuse to have my taxes go to this family that thinks Mr. Dillan is a victim of police…….He was a victim alright, a victim of his own poor choices.

  • Brandon Heller

    I agree with the family’s sentiment. Who says the police have the right to shoot you for walking away. I agree that cops are way too quick to escalate. And way too quick to kill. Dogs, people who don’t respond quick enough to their often contradictory demands. I’ve witnessed these abuses with my own eyes. I’ve also witnessed police lying to save themselves and their kind. Real accountability almost never happens.

    Don’t bother, I’ll save you some trouble. I’m white, middle class, registered republican and I live in a nice house in the suburbs.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      When police respond to reports of a man carrying around a gun outside a 7-Eleven they put their lives on the line. They’d much rather have twelve to try them than six to carry them. Hard hard can it possibly be to listen to lawful commands given by a police officer and then obey them?

    • THE REAL DAN GRAY

      When a police officer has a split second to determine if the suspect is going for a handgun in his pants muscle memory kicks in and he reacts as he has been trained. This fool wasn’t shot for walking away Brandon. He was shot for whirling around and reaching down towards his belt.

  • Liz

    First, why didn’t he stop? Second, why did he raise his shirt up? The officer was responding to a man with a gun. The dead guy is a man, he was acting guilty. The other two stopped obeying authority and are alive. Maybe, society should stop blaming those who are here to protect us and start placing blame where it belongs, In ourselves for raising a generation of citizens who feel entitled, and who show no respect for authority.

  • ANOTHERANOTHERBOB

    Chris Rock explains to the mentally challenged how not to get their a$$ kicked by the police. Slow learners should watch it twice.

  • Travis

    Also where are the pictures of him dressed as a thug, or the video of him acting all bad towards the police officer. They didn’t have to shoot him, a tazer would have been the best method, but let’s be real he turned seen the gun and continued walking backwards , and ultimately pulled up his shirt like he was reaching for a gun. I can tell you if a cop puts a gun in my face, and tells me to lay on the ground, that is what I am gonna do. He would have been alive still if he complied when a gun was pointed at him. For anyone that says he had headphones in, guess what…… They were not noise canceling headphones. They were the regular headphones you get with an Iphone, or an Ipod. He could hear every word they said.

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