While Ferguson, Missouri, burns with racism and rioting, misinformation and mayhem over the Michael Brown shooting, another American city is also grappling with the death of an unarmed young man at the hands of police. The incident occurred just two days after the Ferguson event, but, unlike in that case, where a white cop shot a black youth, in this instance the races are reversed. Unlike in Ferguson, there is no allegation that the young man attacked the officer. And there is another difference:
The national media, Attorney General Holder, and Barack Obama are silent.
The young man was 20-year-old Salt Lake City resident and father-to-be Dillon Taylor. Taylor was leaving the 2102 South State Street 7-Eleven on August 11 with his brother, Jerrail Taylor, and cousin, Adam Thayne, when the incident occurred. Writes Fox 13:
According to [South Salt Lake police] Sgt. Darin Sweeten, police were called to the scene just after 7 p.m. after receiving a 911 call of a man waving a gun in the air.
When police arrived they spotted the suspect leaving the gas station with two other individuals.
According to Sweeten, the officers demanded that the suspect and the two others surrender.
The suspect did not follow orders and was shot.
Police have not confirmed whether or not the suspect had a gun or why he was shot.
The two other individuals [Jerrail Taylor and Adam Thayne] with the suspect did comply with police.
Allegations have been made, however, that Taylor was a victim of mistaken identity and, perhaps, overly-aggressive policing. As KUTV reports:
Dillon’s brother and cousin claim they were on their way to visit his parents’ graves and that Dillon was surprised by the police presence. He was not aggressive, they said.
“He had headphones in, and he couldn’t hear [anything], and then they finally surrounded him,” Jerrail said. “They’re like, ‘Get on the ground,’ and [he] pulled up his pants and [they] shot him.”
Thayne believes police might have thought his cousin was reaching for a gun when, in reality, he grabbed his cell phone.
“I was in shock, because he was wearing a white t-shirt and there was blood all over it,” Thayne said. “They ran up and handcuffed him. He wasn’t moving.”
A witness’s video shows police yelling for the two men to remain on the ground as Thayne repeatedly screams that they have shot his cousin.
The two men were taken to the police station, but released hours later without being charged or cited.
Unlike the Ferguson Police, many Salt Lake City law-enforcement officers wear body cameras, and the incident was caught on video. The video is currently being withheld, however; Police Chief Chris Burbank says that it, along with the name of the officer firing the shots, will be released at the “appropriate” time.