Friday marked the end of the inquest into the fatal police shooting of Che Taylor in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood last year. In the fact-finding hearings, the eight-person jury found that Taylor posed a threat to the officers involved in the shooting.
Most jurors agreed with these facts:
Seattle Police officers Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding were undercover conducting surveillance at an apartment complex last February and recognized Che Taylor pull up.
One officer saw Taylor wearing a handgun in a holster. The officers knew it was illegal for Taylor to have it because of a felony record.
The officers called for backup. They got out of their car with their guns drawn, commanding Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground. Taylor put his hands up and started moving down.
According to most jurors, the officers thought Taylor was pulling a gun out, and that he posed a serious threat.
“He threatened their lives, they have to act. They get to go home at the end of the shift,” said Spaulding’s attorney, Ted Buck.
Taylor’s brother, Andre Taylor questioned that.
“I don’t know what their fear was when they had the guns, and as officers Spaulding and Miller testified, they had the jump on him,” Taylor said during a press conference following the inquest.
No officer saw a gun in Che Taylor’s hand after the shooting, according to the jury’s answers, but one officer later saw a handgun on the floor of the car next to where Taylor was shot.
No questions regarding that gun were allowed to go before the jury. James Bible, attorney for the Taylor family, said that’s unacceptable.
“There’s no indication that that was actually Che Taylor’s gun. There’s more indication that that was a police officer’s gun,” Bible said.
After the shooting last year, the gun was traced to a former King County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Taylor’s family is considering their next moves, including a possible civil lawsuit.