Victim’s family speaks after DA rules shooting justified

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SALT LAKE CITY -- For the first time the family of Dillon Taylor watched the body camera video of the 20-year-old’s shooting death at the hands of the Salt Lake City Police Department outside a South Salt Lake 7-11 on August 11.

The viewing happened hours after District Attorney Sim Gill determined the shooting was legally justified.

“I don’t think it’s justified and I’m not going to think it’s justified,” said Taylor’s aunt, Gina Thayne. “Every time I see a 7-11 or someone in uniform I automatically tense up, I automatically get scared.”

Thayne watched the video with family members and their attorney inside Fox 13 Studios Tuesday afternoon. The family wouldn’t be given their own copy of the video by the District Attorney’s Office until they filled out a proper request.

The video begins with Officer Bron Cruz getting out of the police vehicle at the scene, located at 2100 South and State Street.

“When the responding officers made contact, two of the male suspects immediately applied with the officer's command to stop and show their hands,” said District Attorney Sim Gill. “One male, Dillon Taylor, did not stop or show his hands.”

“It did escalate pretty quickly, got right out of the car, had their guns, went right after him, right off the bat, he was walking away and they had their guns out,” said Cody Taylor, Dillon Taylor's brother. “My first initial thoughts are there were multiple opportunities in that video that he could have been taken out with a Taser, walking away from him, had his hands visible.”

According to Gill, after initially walking away, Taylor then turned and faced police.

“As a command was given to stop and show his hands he responded and said, ‘no fool,’ and in a quick succession of hands, lifted his shirt up and moved his hand from the waist band in a grind motion at which time officer cruise fired two shots,” Gill said.

Gill said the officers were concerned Taylor was reaching for a gun. The family says the video they saw told a different story.

“Dillon pulling his shirt up, he was showing him he doesn’t have a weapon, that was my first impulse, he’s showing you he doesn’t have a weapon,” Thayne said.

Taylor died at the scene. No gun was found on his body.

“If they can just take lives and have no repercussions without seeing a weapon something’s wrong,” Cody said.

48 comments

    • Nathan

      Justice will come to those who abuse their power, it is the natural shift of the world. It will take time, but will come.

    • Susan

      That somebody could call the cops with false information, claim you are waving a gun around, commits murder by cop. I find that as frightening as cops acting as judge, jury, and executioner.

  • jess

    Kinda odd, I thought when the DA came out to speak he stated “I’m sorry I was late I was speaking to the family of dillon taylor” I guess that was a lie because this was the 1st time they seen the shooting..

    • BOBlikesPenis

      To Die from it, that’s a pretty harsh consequence. You people who are on the cops side no matter what make me sick!

    • Said Hirsi

      He didnt want to die, no right minded person would want to kill themselves. And for you to say ” He is a gang banger wannabe. Act like a “fool” and suffer the consequences.” just shows the type of discriminating person you really are.
      – RIP Dillon Tayler

    • Nathan

      Shut up. Just because the 911 caller said he was gang banger doesn’t actually mean he was. Please go on and tell me what a gang banger is Jon, you stereotyping fool. He was most likely walking away because he was completely innocent and he was shot when actually complied to the cops demands. I would do the same thing because I have freedom in this country and when I am innocent I shouldn’t have to listen or stop when a cop tells me to. The kid didn’t “want” to die, and how dare you say that. You are the real fool here Jon.

  • Kat

    Go to his Facebook page and you’ll see how our world will be a slightly better place with one less homie G thug punk that the public won’t have to deal with. The officer was 100% justified.

    • EBW02

      You don’t even know him or what he went through growing up stop passing judgement on him the situation is sad and complicated. But for you to say the world would be better off with out him is ridiculous you have no right to say that, who are you to even decide that? He was a amazing young man who went through so much growing up and took the only option he felt he had at the time and made choices that I know he wished he could have taken back. So don’t not sit there and act entitled enough to say the world is better off with out him because it’s not there are many of us who love and miss him endlessly!

  • Alecea

    Are you people kidding me? This kid has a family who is still mourning his loss no matter what your opinion is on the situation. Be classy and leave out the name calling!

  • sarah

    What the hell is wrong with you people? He was 20 years old. Have you heard of due process? You say good riddance to a kid at 20 who makes mistakes? Were you ever 20? Good riddance to you – you frigin psychos. No where was I taught that saying NO to a police officer was punishable by death. And if you are alright with that – do the country a favor and never call yourself an American.

  • vicki

    The reason the officers couldn’t have just “tazed” Dillon is because they were responding to a call of a man waving a loaded gun. This is why they arrived at the scene with their arms on hand. That being said, when Dillon raised his shirt the way he did, which in most cases leads to the exposure of a weapon, the officer’s first instinct is to shoot. Had there been no 911 call reporting a weapon, the officers would not have been ready to shoot, and maybe Dillon would be alive. The shooting was justified, but in no way, shape or form is the world “better off without one less homie G thug punk.” I went to school with Dillon and can advocate of his kind heart and good intention. He made a mistake and the authorities acted upon it as they are trained to do. Keep in mind that these officers risk their lives in order for us to have some peace of mind as we sleep. Dillon will be missed and his death is unfortunate but at the end of the day, the officer was just doing his job as well as our District Attorney.

  • Ellis Slack

    The officers were wrong, just because you get a call does NOT mean you go in there shooting. You watch first and see if there is anything happening BEFORE you jump out of your vehicle with guns out and screaming at American citizens. The officer that shot Dillion should be arrested for murder in the 1st degree and the DA should be impeached for not doing his job. There was no disturbance, no one waving a weapon, and no cause for any of the officers to get out of their vehicle. There is innocent blood staining the hands of that officer. May he never know peace.

    • Bob

      Better and smarter legal minds than yours, Ellis, reviewed the evidence, compared it with the law, and made the correct call. Put it down as a learning experience for Mr. Taylor.

      • Bob

        Most of us learn from the mistakes of others DIANE DIGGS. The rest have to be the others. Yes, Dillon Taylor had a learning moment. I never said it was a long moment.

  • never the whole story

    Ellis Sack, your comments are made in ignorance, innocence, and fail to account for reality. If you acted as a law enforcement officer the way you preach officers should, you would be dead in the first year. If you take the video as your only reference, then yes, you are correct. However, reality is that there was a call about an individual who had brandished a firearm. Dillon matched the description. You bet the officers are going to approach with guns drawn. With the reasonable suspicion that this is the man who previously brandished a firearm, his actions are very concerning. If you are suggesting the officers should wait until they see a firearm before they draw their weapons, we would have a lot of dead law enforcement officers. Or maybe you are suggesting they shouldn’t ever use firearms and should just talk everyone down like you see on TV. You really should educate yourself a little more on the dynamics of law enforcement. If more of the public had any idea what it was really like, what they are really dealing with everyday, they would be singing a different tune. But go ahead and tell law enforcement how they should be reacting to these situations from your butt and in front of a computer screen with now experience. These officers are not mind readers, nor do they know who the people are they are dealing with or what their mental state is. Every situation must be approached with strict caution for what is known, then slowly “let your guard down” so to speak, as the situation becomes more stable. Absolutely, not the other way around as you suggest.

    • BOBlikesPenis

      Ya your a genius shoot first ask questions later that’s a good way for people who are suppose to be role models should act. I don’t care what the call said false reports happen all the time. Get the pigs unit out of your mouth.

    • BOBLIKESPENIS

      When I think about it I guess I have to admit that you’re correct NEVER THE WHOLE STORY. My apologies.

  • Gloria McCracken Godwin

    Something to consider is that 911 call. In this article is the info about the 911 call: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58472404-78/taylor-cruz-gill-hands.html.csp … 911 caller, who told dispatchers “some gangbangers” walking near 200 East and 1900 South had “flashed” a gun.

    “They’re obviously looking for trouble, just the way they look,” the caller said, according to a transcript of the call.

    “The caller described men wearing a white shirt, a striped shirt and a red shirt — the clothing worn by Taylor, his brother and his cousin.

    “It was very distinctive descriptions,” Cruz said later, according to a transcript of his interview with investigators. Cruz noted he was about two blocks away when the call came in.”

    Who made that call? ??? What “gangbanger” made the call, setting them up? That’s what I’d like to know. Perhaps that is something for the cops to look into. That person should be arrested, charged and prosecuted … for making a false 911 call. A false claim about a gun being flashed … which ended with the death of Dillon.

    .

  • BOBlikesPenis

    Where is that clown Bob, I want to hear that idiot criminal call others criminals with no justification.

    • Bob

      Based on the web name you’ve chosen it would appear that you have some serious mental problems. We must assume that the terms refined and mature don’t apply to you. How sad.

    • Nathan

      A life was lost here! Don’t make some disgusting joke out of it. Just because Dillion wasn’t making the best decisions that day doesn’t mean he deserved to die. My guess is you are probably racist, why don’t you go join the SS you Nazi or maybe just join any SLC police force.

      • Bob

        Dillon has no one but himself to blame for the direct consequences caused by his own actions. Race, color, or creed had absolutely zero to do with what he brought down on his on head.

  • Briaunna.

    This makes me sick to my stomach. I knew Dillon, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he lifted his shirt to show that he was unarmed. I understand that the cop was responding thinking there was a gun, but come on. What happened to lethal force being a last option? I also admit that Dillon was actinh stupid, but he was clearly unarmed. Since when is it okay to kill someone for being an ignorant kid? And to the person who said that the world is better off without Dillon Taylor, you’re sick. You need some serious help.

    • BOBLIKESPENIS

      Dillon should have followed the example of his two smarter friends and he’d still be with us today.

      • Briaunna.

        So the fact that he made an ill decision makes it okay for his life to be taken? No. Hell no. He was just a kid.. he made a stupid decision not to comply at first, yes. But when he does comply he gets shot! It’s a double standard. These cops are taught to shoot no matter the circumstances. It’s disgusting.

      • BOBLIKESPENIS

        Yes, when the police were responding to a “man with a gun” call Dillon’s actions justified the response by the police. That’s the way the Salt Lake District Attorney ruled. If you don’t like it take it up with him.

  • That guy

    Sad unfortunate situation resulting in the loss of a life, yes. Now remove race from the picture. Now remove their backgrounds or history. So all you have is an officer and a person fitting the description of a man waving a gun around, which is considered brandishing. What do you do? Wait and see like some say? See what? If he commits another crime? See if he does it again? No, that approach is not appropriate when a possible weapon is involved, with the exception of waiting for other officers or waiting for a safer location. So then what? How would you approach now that you have made the decision to do so? He may or may not jave a gun. You ask him to stop so you can talk, to verify there is or isn’t a weapon. 2 listen and stop, 1 continues. Do you taze him like the brother suggested? No, because if there is a weapon it can be discharged accidentally hitting someone in the area. Or he can shoot you if the taser fails. And him sayin no is not reason enough for a taze. So now you are on gun trying to gain compliance. You have your gun out because the general public will listen there for not giving you reason to pull it out, i.e the brother and cousin. But criminals in general don’t listen or comply in order to buy time. They are deciding to run, fight, or give up. Now in your head you know these are their options, you also know there might be a weapon involved. Do you still want to try a taser or baton or pepper spray? No, gun is your only option. Now he spins to face you while he is backing up. Remember criminals are buying time to decide if they are going to run, fight, or give up. They say he has dealt with police before and was trying to raise his shirt to show he had no weapons. Well anyone who has dealt with officers know NOT to do that type of thing, becasue they don’t want to get shot making a move for a weapon. Also, if a regular person was to just show their waistband, they grab their shirt not reach in their waistband. So knowing this, please tell me how you would handle it. Walk us through it if you would.

  • Adam Gale

    1) Cops were CALLED, and a weapon was reported

    2) Dillon refused to comply with officers orders

    3) You do not bring a taser to a gun fight.

    4) You do not pull up your shirt, or make any other sudden movements when police offers already have their guns trained on you. They do not need to wait for them to draw a weapon. At the end of the night, the cops went home, alive, and scarred because a childish punk teenager thought he could play thug with the cops. Is it sad, absolutely, anytime a life is lost, it is sad. Did he bring this on himself? Absolutely, you can’t bluff the police, you can’t play thug with the police and think they’re going to wait for you to brandish another weapon.

  • Graymatter

    Lets see, you have a cop pointing his weapon at your chest, obviously in an elevated stress condition, telling you EXACTLY, note the word exactly what he wants you to do. You don’t do it? Sounds like a gene pool cleansing moment to me.

  • Diane Diggs

    What is it with people calling 911 when there is actually no emergency taking place? Who was the person who called 911 to report that there were “gang bangers” walking around who looked like they were up to no good? Was it ever even determined that any of these young men had a gun?
    It is true that Dillon Taylor responded in exactly the wrong way to an officer who already sounded like he was about to flip his wig. I just wish this could have had a different outcome.

    • Bob

      The fact that someone did call 911 is evidence that they were concerned their behavior. Mr. Taylor’s behavior upon the arrival of the police is evidence that the caller got it right.

  • Bob

    Where’s the part about him getting shot in the back? Maybe if he friends and supporters play the tape real slowly they can conference on how the police could have/should have responded differently.

  • Tired of the tirades

    It is very interesting, this trend. Families of of people hurt or killed by police officers, WHILE IN THE ACT OF COMMITTING A CRIME, crying murder! I completely understand the pain and disbelief associated with losing a loved one in a tragic and traumatic manner. However, the officers put their lives on the line EVERY SINGLE DAY to protect us from other people’s RIGHT TO BE STUPID! I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma that officer will deal with for the rest of his life. As a TRAINED CWP I can honestly say put in a position to choose between the the safety of my family and myself, I will not ask questions. Maybe some of you should put yourself in rhat position? This young man chose to challenge authority, the outcome is tragic. Perhaps the families and friends should ask why the young man felt that need, and take steps to prevent another young person from making the same mistakes? The men and women sworn to protect should not be demonized. Murder is committed with or without intent, WHILE IN THE ACT OF COMMITTING A CRIME, not while defending the innocent. Look it up…

  • Theodore Ey

    Can’t really place any blame on the officer. He took at out the trash. This was a known gang member, a felon, a drug addict with no ambition. No love for his family, or himself. It’s always the thugs who get shot- they fail to comply with law enforcement, and ultimately, society in general. Justice was served.

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