Police released video of the incident and a detailed description in what appeared to be an effort to quickly quell questions about the shooting of the African-American man, identified as 47-year-old Che Andre Taylor.
The felon who was fatally shot by two Seattle police officers Sunday reached for a handgun after ignoring commands to show his hands and get on the ground, Seattle police (SPD) said Monday.
Police released graphic dashboard-camera video and a detailed description of the incident, in what appeared to be an effort to quickly provide information on the shooting of the African-American man, identified as 47-year-old Che Andre Taylor.
The shooting came at a time of heightened scrutiny nationwide into the police use of deadly force against African-American males, along with federally mandated reforms requiring the SPD to adopt reforms to curb excessive force.
Police investigators and the department chaplain met with Taylor’s family Sunday night and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole briefed community leaders, mostly in the African-American community, on the incident.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday that police appeared to have acted appropriately, while calling for body cameras on officers.
Taylor, who also has gone by the name Marvin R. Hunter, had a lengthy felony record, including rape, robbery and assault, and he was under supervision by the state Department of Corrections, according to court records and a corrections spokeswoman.
Taylor died Sunday evening after police shot him hours earlier on the edge of the Wedgwood neighborhood in Northeast Seattle.
Police were conducting surveillance about 3:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street as part of an ongoing investigation, according to a written statement posted on the SPD’s news website Monday,
Officers saw a man with a holstered handgun and identified him as Taylor, a “convicted violent felon” prohibited by law from possessing a handgun, the statement said. They called for additional units around 4:15 p.m. to assist in taking Taylor into custody.
While Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus, a marked patrol vehicle with its emergency lights activated pulled up facing the Taurus as an arrest team approached the car, according to police.
“Officers ordered Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground,” the statement said. “He did not follow officers’ commands, and instead leaned into the Taurus.”
Officers and a civilian witness interviewed by investigators reported Taylor reached for a handgun, the statement said.
Two officers, who have yet to be identified, then fired. Investigators did not release information about their race.
The patrol-car video doesn’t capture all of Taylor’s actions, some of which are obscured by the Taurus.
Police detained two other people in the car, called for medics and performed CPR on Taylor until medics arrived, according to the statement. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.
Detectives served search warrants as part of the investigation, and recovered Taylor’s handgun, the statement said.
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Taylor was found at Harborview to be carrying about six ounces of suspected crack cocaine and black tar heroin, according to police.
Police booked one of the other people in the Taurus into the King County Jail for possession of what was described as a significant quantity of suspected heroin.
Under standard procedures, the officers involved in the shooting were to be placed on paid administrative leave while the matter is investigated.
At a vigil Monday night, Taylor’s wife, Brenda Taylor, said she hoped his death is momentum for reform.
“His life is going to make some changes,” she said. “I’m not going to let him die in vain.”
Taylor’s brother, Andre Taylor, posted the police video on his Facebook page, calling the shooting an assassination, along with other posts.
Murray said Monday he had not yet seen the video but had been briefed on it by O’Toole.
“Whenever there is a shooting and someone is killed, regardless of the circumstances, it is a tragedy,” Murray said, noting that the incident will be the subject of investigations by the police department’s Force Review Board and Office of Police Accountability. “It appears from the briefing I received that the police officers acted appropriately. But again, we’ll wait for the full investigations to be completed.”
O’Toole, pledging to keep Taylor’s family and the community apprised of the matter, said: “Our process is very comprehensive,”
Murray brought up proposed state legislation that would advance efforts to put body cameras on officers. He urged the state Senate to pass the legislation, which has already cleared the House.
“If we had body cameras up right now in this situation we would have a clearer video,” the mayor said.
Taylor was released from state prison in October 2014 and placed on supervision after serving time since 1992, the corrections spokeswoman said Monday.
His convictions, in King County, included first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree robbery, a drug offense, unlawful possession of a firearm, two counts of second-degree assault and taking a motor vehicle without permission, the spokeswoman said.
He also had previous convictions for two counts of first-degree robbery, taking a motor vehicle without permission, possession of stolen property, escape and a drug offense, serving time between 1989 and 1990.