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Christian Taylor Wrong, But Did Not Deserve Death

by Todd A. Smith

 

Err on the Side of Life

 

During the first presidential debate for the Republican Party nomination, Florida Senator Marco Rubio stated that he would rather err on the side of life when it comes to social issues like abortion.


While I agree with his stance on social issues, the social issue that is on my mind more recently is the police brutality that is leading to the unnecessary deaths of many African-Americans.


Although all police officers are not to blame, it is time for police to err on the side of life when it comes to African-Americans.  After all, they erred on the side of life when it came to the life of James Holmes, the Aurora, Colo. movie theater murderer.


The New York Times reported, “The Arlington Police…went to the Classic Buick GMC dealership [last] Friday just after 1:00 a.m. when a caller reported that a man was standing on top of a car in the lot ‘stamping on the windshield trying to break it,’ according to a 911 call.  A surveillance video shows Mr. Taylor appearing to try to smash the windshield of a gray Mustang.” 


Despite the fact that Christian Taylor was totally wrong for the damage that he caused at a local car dealership, Officer Brad Miller met him with death.


However in Colorado, Holmes was met with a peaceful arrest.


Something is wrong with such a blatant double standard in the policing of different races.


Furthermore, Miller broke several rules leading up to the death of Christian Taylor and deserved to be terminated according to experts.


According to the New York Times, “When Officer Brad Miller, a trainee in the Arlington Police Department, walked through shattered glass in an automobile showroom here in pursuit of a suspected burglar, he had already violated several basic principles of modern-day policing, according to law enforcements veterans: Wait for backup, establish a perimeter, have a plan.


“Minutes after he was inside the showroom, Officer Miller fired four shots that killed Christian Taylor, an unarmed African-American college student, who Officer Miller said was advancing toward him menacingly.


“Police Chief Will Johnson said at a news conference Tuesday that a court would have to determine whether the shooting was justified, but that his decision to fire Officer Miller had been based on the officer’s conduct before the shooting.”


While I believe Miller should have definitely been fired for breaking police protocol, the real issue is the thought that African-Americans are always a threat to police officers even if they are unarmed.


However, that critique of the police does not absolve Christian Taylor for his reckless actions.


I applaud those speaking up for Christian Taylor and his “youthful mistake” but jumping on cars, breaking windshields and ramming his automobile through the showroom floor of a car dealership is not a youthful mistake, it is craziness.


I will not speculate on what was on Christian Taylor’s mind that caused him to act in such a bizarre fashion, but destroying vehicles should not result in the destruction of his life, permanently.


When police value automobiles when the suspect is African-American more than they value other human life when the suspect is White is beyond troubling in a country that prides itself on equality for all.

 

Ultimately, while I agree with Rubio in regards to erring on the side of life when it comes to opposing abortion and gay marriage, let’s not forgot to err on the side of life when it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement too.

This article was published on Friday 14 August, 2015.
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