Salt Lake officer captured Dillon Taylor shooting on body camera

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 19, 2014, 1:45 p.m. MDT

 The body of a man who was shot in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at 2102 S. State is covered on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in South Salt Lake.

The body of a man who was shot in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at 2102 S. State is covered on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in South Salt Lake.

(Tom Smart, Deseret News )

SALT LAKE CITY — The police officer who shot and killed Dillon Taylor captured the incident on his body camera, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said Tuesday.

Burbank said the video, along with the name of the officer, will be released to the public at the "appropriate" time. He said he didn't know if that would be days, weeks or months.

"It would be wholly inappropriate to take the most vital piece of evidence that we have and put it out to the public prior to the officer having some due process," he told reporters.

The officer's body camera recorded the entire incident, including the point when the officer shoots Taylor, Burbank said.

Burbank has watched the video but would not comment on whether he thought the Aug. 11 shooting in a 7-Eleven parking lot was justified. Burbank also would not comment on whether the 20-year-old Taylor had a gun. The man's family has said he was not armed.

Taylor's aunt, Gina Thayne, said Tuesday that police know they "killed an innocent kid."

"If in fact they actually produce a tape, it will show exactly what happened," Thayne said. "It will come out eventually. It will never bring Dillon back, though."

Taylor's friends and family protested his death and demanded answers from police Monday in a rally across the street from the Public Safety Building.

Another demonstration is planned for Wednesday night outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building for not only Taylor but also for Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager police shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

That shooting has ignited violent protests in the small town outside St. Louis where racial tensions have boiled over, leading to clashes between demonstrators and police.

"I cannot stress enough that this is not Ferguson," Burbank said, declining to compare the two incidents.

The chief also addressed speculation about the ethnicity of the officer who shot Taylor, saying the officer is not white. Taylor's brother, Jerrail Taylor, raised issues last week about racial profiling. He said his brother was Hispanic.

Five agencies and boards, including the South Salt Lake Police Department, Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office and Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board, are investigating the officer's actions, Burbank said.

"I do not send officers out to use deadly force. That's never our intention. In fact, our policy specifically says that is the last resort," he said. "The officer in this circumstance did not set out to use deadly force. We have an unfortunate incident where Dillon Taylor lost his life."

Police have said officers responded to a report of a man "waving a gun around." When police arrived, they found three men leaving the convenience store. One of the men, later identified as Taylor, reportedly matched the description of the man reported in a 911 call.

South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Darin Sweeten said three officers gave Taylor verbal commands to reveal his hands, but Taylor failed to comply and was "visibly upset." Taylor was subsequently shot and died at the scene.

Body cameras are becoming more common among Salt Lake police officers. Currently, 125 officers wear the cameras, and that number will increase to 259 by the end of September, according to the department.

Burbank said he committed to make the videos available to the public when he started the program about two years ago.

Contributing: Sandra Yi

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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1. JWB
Kaysville, UT,
Aug. 20, 2014

Technology is a good tool for our police here and military operations. The bad guys use anything they can and will find to do their evil. It assists in finding, documenting and assisting in so many of their required daily tasks we take for granted. The convenience store had one for documenting the alleged individual had done to start police response to that incidence. If you were that store clerk, they understand that people can pull a weapon, knife or gun, at any time. This small clerk, compared to the alleged person who shoved him around and threatened him, even tried to block the person was putting himself in a compromising position. If the alleged person was on drugs or alcohol, it could even have been worse for the clerk or people in the store.

Having lived in the St. Louis area 9 years, they have had violence in cities in the past, whether in the Illinois or Missouri side. It is a wonderful place to live with so many good things to do and experience in cultural, educational opportunities, business and just living.

Police have a responsibility for safety and are tried everyday, just as in Lehi or Nephi, Utah.

2. sjames
Aug. 20, 2014

This looks very suspicious. If the PD wanted to get in front of this and take the bull by the horns, that time may be expired. Given the explanation from Burbank being so vague and that the PD is stalling on releasing the truth, sounds like a lawsuit.

That's big $ paid to to this victim's families that comes out of our pockets. All because the police can't train their guys to keep control of themselves. Whether it's breaking into people's backyards and shooting their dogs, or gunning down unarmed kids at the sev. Things are not looking good.

3. JWB
Kaysville, UT,
Aug. 20, 2014

Officials should be held accountable for their acts both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society especially relating the protection of life.

It is sad to see our top law enforcers, according to their own words lose the faith and trust of citizens in our State of Utah. Government requires officials to enforce the laws and administer the law in equity and justice. When trust is lost, people lose faith in the government.

4. Vanceone
Provo, UT,
Aug. 20, 2014

Question: Taylor was white, correct? And the shooting officer was not white, correct?

When do we get to riot and loot? That's the appropriate behavior for race shootings, correct? At least, that's what Ferguson is teaching me.

I'm just asking.

5. one old man
Ogden, UT,
Aug. 20, 2014

Patience, everyone. The recordings will be released when it's appropriate. Judge then, not now.