Family of man shot, killed by police say 911 call raises questions

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Often a 911 call can answer many important questions in a case, but the family of Dillon Taylor says it's been just the opposite.

The 20-year-old man was shot and killed by Salt Lake City Police outside the 7-Eleven on 2100 south and State St. on August 11. A 911 call reporting a man with a gun is what prompted police to arrive on scene.

The caller can be heard saying, "They are obviously looking for trouble just the way they look."

Gina Thayne, Dillon's aunt, reacted to that caller's report.

"I can't believe this is what took Dillon's life, this call," she said. "I wondered if she was intoxicated because it sounded like her voice was altered but the more I hear maybe she had a disability."

Thayne, alongside family attorney Robert Cummings, listened to the 911 call with FOX 13 News.

While on the phone with dispatch, the woman on the phone goes on to say, "We're almost at 21st South, the guy in the red hat has a gun. The guy flashed his gun, the kid flashed a gun as he was walking by. They are looking for trouble that's all I see."

The  Salt Lake County District Attorney's office ruled Officer Bron Cruz was justified in the shooting. Cruz said he believed Dillon was reaching for a gun. It was later determined Dillon did not have a gun.

"I don't want to say people shouldn't call when they see something suspicious, but be sure of what you are talking about, this took a kid's life, it took somebody we loved," Thayne said.

Thayne said she believes the caller sounded confused.

Dispatch questioned, "What race was he, was he Hispanic, white, black?"

The caller answered,"um black, no Mexican, right."

"First she said he was black and then she said no he's Mexican almost like maybe a little prejudice maybe, I don't know," Thayne said.

Dispatch then asked, "Where was the weapon, was it in his waist band, was it in his hand?"

During the caller's response she referred to another person.

"The one thing that stands out to me is somebody in the background says I saw something in his pocket," Cummings said. "There's a suggestion of difference of opinion as to what the object was."

Dispatch then asked, "Are you or anyone else in immediate danger?"

The caller responded: "No, not at all. I just thought I ought to report this, they look suspicious."

"This is an important part for us as a community to look into if somebody says we're not threatened and that isn't relayed to the officers we could have a repeat of the situation down the road," Cummings said.

The Taylor family is still deciding whether or not they will file a civil suit regarding Dillon Taylor's death.

20 comments

    • TrAcY ReeD

      I bet if it was your relation that it happened to you wouldn’t let it go now would you.? I don’t even know the kid but no one deserves to be shuved under the rug they need to find out what really happened and get it delt with.

  • Hans Richter

    Where is the difference to the shooting in St.Louis? Oh yes, the victim’s skin is not dark enough, so it was ok to kill him on a hunch. But if you kill a big black guy in self defense there will be an outcry on the national media. I wonder how the story in Montana goes: Will the man who shot the young man trying to burglarize his garage be prosecuted? Here in Germany the media claimed he was a German although he clearly was Turkish but lived in Hamburg for a time. If he had been an ethnic German is would probably have been ok to shoot him. There were two big demonstrations here against islamic militants and ISIL recently. When leftists tried to disrupt the demo and attacked the Police, the media merely reported casualties at “right-wing demonstration”. Do you see a pattern? I do and I do not like it! Thank you Fox for being different from other media!

    • BOB

      You say you’re in Germany Hans? Your comments remind me of the Final Solution …. only color wasn’t the issue was it.

      • Kate

        How did it go from that 911 call to Cruz’s statement saying he knew he was pulling up to a gun fight and knew he was going to die. The caller said the kid in the red hat had a gun, Dillon didn’t have a red hat on. One of the other boys did. Was that conveyed to the officer? The disconnect to me feels like between the dispatcher to the officer. How many of the inconsistencies did the dispatcher make the officers aware of? It seems to me we have a bigger problem than officers killing citizens, the problem started before the officers arrived on scene.

      • BOB

        Kate – Officers arriving on a scene are initially influenced by what 911 is telling them. Given 4 or 5 hours around a conference table to discuss possible strategies the police might have reacted differently.

        The police, Kate, aren’t blessed with psychic powers when someone calls 911 to report a threat.

      • D.J.

        Bob,

        “Kate – Officers arriving on a scene are initially influenced by what 911 is telling them. Given 4 or 5 hours around a conference table to discuss possible strategies the police might have reacted differently.”

        It doesn’t matter if they would have reacted differently after hours or even days around a conference table discussing all the possible strategies they could have used at the time. What matters is their actions at the time and the results of their choice to shoot this unarmed man.

        “The police, Kate, aren’t blessed with psychic powers when someone calls 911 to report a threat.”

        Which is why the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that 911 calls are not in themselves reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime, is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime and that the call itself does not constitute reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop to take effect (i.e. Florida v. J.L. 529 U.S. 266 (2000). The call stating that he had a gun was not reasonable suspicion that he actually had a gun because the caller wasn’t known to the police and their credibility, trustworthiness and knowledge of the suspects actions and intent did not at the time constitute sufficient evidence to warrant police belief that they were criminals. Lacking an independent police corroboration of the caller’s claims of a criminal act or intent of criminal act they had to relay on their observations of Dillon Taylor to establish reasonable suspicion to stop and/or search him.

        It is true that the police could have behaved differently after 4 to 5 hours around a conference table but to discuss what they should have done in that situation but Dillon Taylor could have reacted differently after discussing options around a conference table for 4 to 5 hours because he’s not psychic either. Yet, he’s dead and they are not because they cared more about their life, their rights and their authority than they did the life of this young man who was not armed. The mere thought that he might be reaching for a gun was sufficient for them to shoot and kill him. That is MURDER. It’s that simple. There are many reasons why he could be lifting his shirt such as showing them that he is not armed. The onus is not on him to behave perfectly. He’s not the one using deadly force. In Florida v. J.L the U.S. Supreme Court clearly articulated a long established principle of reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop (which this is) and under that standard the police can not rely on the word of a 911 caller as establish reasonable suspicion absent independent corroboration. If the police knew the informant or had reason to believe that the informant had personal knowledge of the criminal activity or plans of the person they are calling about then that would be a different matter yet the witness makes it clear in the call that she did not feel threatened and was not currently in danger nor did she ever say that he threatened her or anyone’s life. So in other words she called the cops on someone who could have been legally carrying a firearm, who had not threatened anyone with it and was not currently threatening the life of others with the gun and therefore had not and was not committing a crime at the time that she called. She had no personal knowledge that the armed man she saw would go on to commit a crime anymore than I do when I see a detective who is in plainclothes walking with a gun.

        The Courts have made it clear that if the mere act of someone calling the police constitutes reasonable suspicion that this would grant people the ability to harass or impose intrusive government interference on people they know, don’t like or who they had a run in with or otherwise were discriminating against based on subjective opinions. The caller in the 911 call makes the following statement in response to the question of whether they or anyone else were in danger:

        “No, not at all. I just thought I ought to report this, they look suspicious.”

        That isn’t enough. Someone calling the cops and who has not reported a criminal act that occurred or was occurring can’t establish reasonable suspicion simply by saying “they look suspicious” because it’s not illegal to open carry in Utah without a permit and it’s not illegal to conceal carry with a permit. Because the caller can not know if they had or didn’t have a permit or if they were legally able to carry a gun she had no basis for her call. The 911 dispatcher should know this and the police arriving at the scene should have this information but even if they don’t what they didn’t have is sufficient for them to know what they needed. Meaning that absent the 911 dispatcher informing them of:

        a) the person had committed a crime with the firearm
        b) the person was presently threatening people with the firearm (this would make the dispatcher a liar in this case)
        c) the caller had sufficient intimate knowledge to establish a set of facts that would indicate that they knew the person well enough to know that they had commit to commit a crime at a future point

        The dispatcher did not do any of that in this incident unless the dispatcher was lying to the police just for the heck of it. The dispatcher does not need to tell the police officers something. The lack of telling them tells the police that the caller did not provide sufficient evidence beyond having a gun to establish reasonable suspicion. Knowing this their choice to conduct a stop was itself a violation of Dillon Taylor’s constitutional right not to be harassed by police. If you will post your first and last name on here alone with where you live and work I am sure we can find someone willing to call the cops on you and say you are acting suspiciously. Let’s see how much of your time we can cause you. Maybe a broken door, some broken windows and furniture and maybe a dead pet might be a good way for us to retaliate against you for being a buffoon. For all the cops know this caller just had an ax to grind with someone.

      • BOB

        Arm hair quarter backs have months to review the split second decisions forced on police officers. Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride was just a little slow the day a puke and his girlfriend gunned him down.

        The saying among police officers, D.J., is that “I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six”.

      • Hans Richter

        I am commenting on the media bias. If you understood my comment, Bob, you would recognize that I am against racism. Unfortunately there is a trend of racism against Whites today. Diren, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were criminals caught in the act who were shot in self defense. Dillon Taylor was an innocent civilian who was murdered on the open street. Most media (apart from Fox) report stories that have only a very loose, very remote relationship with the truth. This is rightfully called propaganda the same as the lies of Nazis or communists. If you dislike the fact that I use my right of freedom of speech I do not care. Your need to paint me into a right wing corner proves that you have no counterarguments.

  • Common sense

    I live on the west side, I have had a man stabbed on my porch and men ringing my doorbell in the middle of the night all spracked out on drugs…I watched this video..VERY SIMPLE….STOP AND PUT HANDS UP…Life is not a game..The officers don’t know you and what you are reaching for!

    • TrAcY ReeD

      Wow so if you reach for something plans on getting shot. No one you to Live where your living boo hoo for you let’s hope no one on your family reaches for something and gets shoot oh but I’m sure in case your attitude would be a different one. Cops took on there Job no one forced them they new what they was in store for don’t get me wrong I’m very thankful for what they do but they need to be held responsible for what they do just like we are. wouldn’t we all like to shoot and ask questions later that’s not the way it goes. . It seems that the only ones that they seem to shoot at are the ones that wear the big pants the look like some kind of gang member pretty sad sound like a case of the scardy cats to me. . Just saying.

  • BOB

    In a perfect world the police would never get injured or killed and the suspects would all walk away singing Kum Ba Yah.

    • Gina

      Really Bob, it seems to me when the hands went up that is when he was killed, he was safer leaving them down. Are you a Cop? Cruz was the only officer on the scene that was scared or threatened, He was the only officer with his hand on the trigger the entire time, he was the only officer scared to death, he was the only officer that took a death shot at Dillon, & Dillons Crime? His hands didn’t go up fast enough. I hope you never have to loose someone you love. You sound like your pretty programmed to a perfect world comply or die!

      • BOB

        You might want to ask Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride’s widow for her opinion on the subject. While it may hard to believe police officers have spouses and children waiting for them to come home at the end of their shifts. Mrs. Wride has my sympathy. Does she have yours?

  • Common sense

    DJ…….Have you ever lived on the streets? I have..There is something called COMMON SENSE and STREET SMARTS that we live by in the real world.. On the streets you have to own your decisions…Since it is too complicated for you let me spell it out for you again……..STOP……HANDS ON HEAD……2 steps,can you handle 2 steps? Anybody any situation does this… guess what? You will NOT get shot!!!! Pretty Simple!!!!!!!!! Quit teaching this generation how to make excuses for their behavior !!!!!!!!!!

  • TrAcY ReeD

    I’m sorry but let me bud in for just a really quick second. Bob your a douch bag leave the crop in the toilet and shut the hell up. Thanks

    • BOB

      Meanwhile in Ogden a wanted fugitive is in critical condition after a communications failure with police. Off-duty police will get some extra Christmas money guarding him in jail, and nurses won’t be happy he’s cuffed to his hospital bed.
      If Leonard Marion lives he’ll get his day in court before going to prison. See how that works Tracy?

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