The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office has found the police shooting of Dillon Taylor was justified. Salt Lake City Police Officer Bron Cruz shot Taylor outside a 7-Eleven on August 11th following a 9-1-1 call.
The 9-1-1 caller told emergency dispatchers that she had seen three males acting suspiciously, one of them
was flashing a gun. Footage from a body camera Officer Cruz wore on his uniform during the confrontation, shows two male suspects standing still with their hands up. Dillon Taylor walks away from the officers with his hands in his pants. He ignores Officer Cruz’s commands to stop and raise his hands. When Taylor turns and begins to raise his shirt, Cruz fires two shots, killing Taylor. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told reporters on Tuesday that the body camera footage was key evidence in his investigation of the shooting.
“This is the first time we’ve used it in the context of an officer-involved shooting,” says Gill. “And I think it’s a very important piece of evidence. I think the technology is here. And we have to, I think, work through the process and protocol of its use, and the retention issues which are going to be tied to this kind of use of technology. And I think, as this indicates, it assists everybody to get to the truth in a transparent and objective way.”
After the shooting, the officers found that Taylor had been unarmed. Neither of the other two suspects had a gun either. Despite those discoveries, Sim Gill said the circumstances justified Officer Cruz’s use of deadly force.
“To second guess in this context, to say, well, because there was no weapon, it did not pose a threat, I think would miss the point of the context or the analysis, and what the statute tells me to do as a public prosecutor to contextualize the analysis,” says Gill.
At the time of his death, Dillon Taylor’s blood alcohol level was .18. Investigators discovered posts on Taylor’s Facebook account that suggest he was having troubles with his family and believed he would soon have warrants out for his arrest.