A Seattle police officer shot and killed a convicted felon who investigators said reached for a gun he was illegally carrying.
But NAACP activists are calling for an independent investigation of the fatal shooting — which they described as a “cold-blooded murder.”
Police released video recorded Sunday afternoon by a patrol car’s dashboard camera that shows officers attempting to arrest 47-year-old Che Taylor, who they recognized after spotting him with a holstered weapon near a Ford Taurus while conducting surveillance as part of a separate investigation, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The officers jumped out of an unmarked vehicle with their guns drawn, and they said Taylor, who also went by the name Marvin Hunter, refused to show his hands or comply with police orders to lower himself to the ground.
Taylor disappears from view in the video as he drops behind the car’s open passenger-side door as an officer approached with his handgun drawn, but what happens next isn’t clear.
Police said Taylor leaned into the car and appeared to reach for his own handgun with the first officer standing right behind him.
The officer opens fire multiple times as a second officer comes round the back of the car armed with a shotgun.
Taylor was pronounced dead at an area hospital, where employees said they found six ounces of crack cocaine and black tar heroin in his possession.
Another person in the Taurus was booked into the King County jail after police said they found “a significant quantity” of heroin.
Taylor had previous convictions for four counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree rape, unlawful possession of a firearm, a drug offense, and two counts of second-degree assault, and he had a pending misdemeanor assault case against him when he was killed.
He used the identity of another inmate who was set to be released to escape in 1992 from the King County Jail.
A local TV station reported that Taylor was wanted at the time of his death, but Seattle police have said that’s not accurate.
Friends said Taylor was well-liked despite his criminal background.
“It doesn’t add up,” said Gerald Hankerson, a friend and president of the local NAACP chapter. “We know him as someone who is not a gun toter… My entire community right now is so outraged. There’s so many more questions than answers.”
Hankerson said Seattle’s police chief had called him and said Taylor’s handgun, which he was prohibited from carrying, was “in reach” — but he said that meant the weapon was not in his friend’s hand when the officer gunned him down.
The NAACP has hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the fatal shooting.
“It was clear to me that they came with the intent to kill, not to arrest,” Hankerson said.
Nine seconds elapsed from the moment when officers shouted “move in” and an officer shooting Taylor at close range.
Seattle police are required to prioritize de-escalation under reforms mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice, calling on officers to “take reasonable care that their actions do not precipitate an unnecessary, unreasonable, or disproportionate use of force, by placing themselves or others in jeopardy, or by not following policy or training.”
Watch video of the fatal shooting posted online by SPD Blotter: