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. The officer in this circumstance did not set out to use deadly force. We have an unfortunate incident where Dillon Taylor lost his life. —Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank
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: [email protected]