A police officer was legally justified in shooting an unarmed man, a Salt Lake City district attorney said Tuesday, in a decision based on video from the officer's body camera. The case is the first time the district attorney there has relied on body-cam evidence to determine whether an officer-involved shooting could be justified.
Dillon Taylor, 20, was shot to death by Salt Lake City officer Bron Cruz on Aug. 11 after police received a report about three men who were seen near a 7-Eleven, possibly flashing a gun, reported NBC affiliate KSL. The men — Taylor, along with his brother and cousin — are seen on Cruz's body-cam video in the parking lot when Cruz pulls in. Taylor's brother and cousin stop and put up their hands; Taylor keeps walking, head down.
Cruz can be heard on the video yelling, "Get your hands up now," to which Taylor responds, "No, fool." He then raises his shirt and pulls his hands from his waistband. In response, Cruz fires off two shots, hitting Taylor in the chest and stomach, KSL said.
While no weapon was found on Taylor, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a news conference Tuesday that based on all the evidence from the incident, he had decided Cruz was justified in his actions.
"I believe that the camera was extremely helpful to enlighten the community on what the officers actually saw at the scene and the decision-making process the officer went through," he said, according to KSL.
More than a thousand police departments throughout the U.S. use body cameras. Officers in Ferguson, Missouri, began wearing them weeks after a cop there shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
— Elizabeth Chuck