Gerald Hankerson, head of the Seattle King County NAACP, said “our community is outraged” by the death of Che Taylor during a street confrontation Sunday in Northeast Seattle.
Expressing outrage, the president of the Seattle King County NAACP on Tuesday called the fatal shooting of an African-American man by Seattle police “coldblooded murder.”
Speaking at a news conference, Gerald Hankerson said “our community is outraged” by the death of Che Andre Taylor during a street confrontation Sunday in Northeast Seattle partially captured on police dashboard-camera video.
Hankerson called Taylor’s death an execution without due process at the hands of the police.
“It was clear to me that they come with the intent to kill, not to arrest,” he said of police actions.
Most Read Local Stories
- Researchers attach cameras to Pacific Northwest orcas, revealing a marvelous underwater world WATCH
- Coronavirus daily news updates, September 19: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- What health officials say you should do now that Seattle's air quality has improved
- Rain and westerly winds scour out wildfire smoke, and Western Washington air quality returns to normal
- After prostitution arrest, Seattle police captain got preferential treatment from fellow officers WATCH
Taylor, whose age has been given as 46 and 47, died at Harborview Medical Center after being shot by two white Seattle officers.
Seattle police, who are investigating the shooting, declined to comment on the remarks at the news conference.
Hankerson, his voice rising, disputed the police account of the shooting, saying Taylor put his hands in the air and was attempting to comply with officers’ orders when he was shot.
Police were conducting surveillance about 3:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street in Wedgwood as part of the investigation, according to the department.
Officers saw a man with a holstered handgun and identified him as Taylor, a “convicted violent felon” barred by law from possessing a handgun, police said in a statement Monday.
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 about 4:15 p.m. as an arrest team approached the car, according to police.
“Officers ordered Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground,” the statement says. “He did not follow officers’ commands, and instead leaned into the Taurus.”
Officers and a civilian witness reported that Taylor reached for a handgun, prompting police to fire, according to the statement.
A patrol-car video released to the public doesn’t capture all of Taylor’s actions, some of which are obscured by the Taurus.
Detectives recovered Taylor’s handgun, the statement said.
Two other people were in the Taurus, and police booked one on suspicion of possessing heroin. Substances suspected to be crack cocaine and black-tar heroin were found on Taylor when he arrived at Harborview, police said.
Police on Tuesday identified the two officers who opened fire as Michael Spaulding, 34, and Scott Miller, 38, both hired in 2008.
Under standard procedures, the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
At the news conference, attorney James Bible, who is representing the NAACP as well as Taylor’s family, said he thinks there are additional videos of the incident that police may be withholding. He urged police to disclose all videos.
He asked for a full accounting of why police were in the area and what prompted them to stop Taylor.
He also called on an outside agency, possibly the state Attorney General’s Office, to conduct an independent investigation.
“This did not fit with best practices,” Bible said of the police conduct, adding, “This was a system failure on behalf of the Seattle Police Department, and the cover-up likely henceforth.”
Bible questioned how Taylor — a man he described as more than 6 feet tall — could comply and get down when he was about a foot away facing the car, which prevented him from following the orders.
“They created their own conundrum,” Bible said of the police, asking why they instead didn’t direct Taylor to step away from the car.
Hankerson questioned the police account of recovering a gun and drugs, saying they could have come from a police supply closet.
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 after being sent to prison in 1992 and released in 2014.
Hankerson blasted the news media for demonizing Taylor as a felon without recognizing him as a father and a man with loved ones. He said police were attempting to tarnish Taylor by labeling him as an “armed felon.”
“Whatever he did in life … is irrelevant to us,” Hankerson said.
Taylor’s brother, Andrè Taylor, 47, said his deceased brother had a “million-dollar smile” and a “big heart.”
“Che Taylor was a man,” added his sister, DeVitta Briscoe, 42, calling him a caring and sensitive person who loved his family.
“He was a warm person that could light up any room,” Briscoe said.
Also attending the news conference was Taylor’s wife, Brenda Taylor.