NAACP leader calls Seattle police shooting 'cold blooded murder'
SEATTLE -- In a heated Tuesday afternoon press conference, the head of King County's NAACP chapter said the man shot and killed by Seattle police on Sunday was the victim of "cold blooded murder."
Dashcam video of the Sunday afternoon incident shows officers firing seven or eight shots at 46-year-old Che Taylor as he was standing outside a car in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood.
According to the Seattle Police Department, officers were conducting surveillance in the 2200 block of Northeast 85th Street at about 3:30 p.m. when they spotted what appeared to be some drug activity in the area. They quickly recognized Taylor, who they called a "known felon."
Officers called for additional units to help bring the suspect into custody. As Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus, a marked patrol vehicle with emergency lights on pulled up facing the Taurus, according to police.
Officers then approached the Taurus to take him into custody. Officers shouted at Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground. The dashcam video then shows him leaning into the Taurus.
According to officers, as well as a civilian witness interviewed by investigators, Taylor reached for his handgun, leading officers to open fire. Seven or eight shots can then be heard on the dashcam video as officers fire their weapons. Police say they later recovered Taylor's firearm. They also say he was in possession of roughly 6 ounces of crack cocaine and black tar heroin.
Taylor was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
On Tuesday, Gerald Hankerson, president of the King County NAACP, held a press conference with members of Taylor's family and several lawyers representing the family.
Hankerson said he is outraged and called the killing "cold blooded murder."
"After looking at the video and seeing all the facts, the Seattle-King County NAACP declared this as actually an execution by the Seattle police department of a man without even giving him due process or the ability to be seen by a jury of his peers," Hankerson said.
Hankerson said he believes Taylor was complying with police commands when the officers opened fire.
"It was clear to me that they came with the intent to kill, not to arrest," he said.
The NAACP leader also took issue with the police department and local media for "discrediting and dehumanizing" Taylor by bringing up his past legal problems. Records show Taylor had a criminal history, including convictions for assault, robbery, and rape, police said.
"Stop looking at him like he's a felon, start looking at him as a father. Stop looking at him as a gang member or drug dealer and start looking at him as a son or somebody's brother," Hankerson said.
Lawyer James Bible, who is representing the Taylor family, also spoke out Tuesday about what he called a "slander campaign" against Taylor.
"Unfortunately, rather than evaluating what they could have done better, a slander campaign seems to have been launched," Bible said.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole addressed the shooting Monday afternoon.
"Police officers have to make split-second decisions. And police officers are trained to aim toward the center mass. And they did, from what I understand, what they were trained to do," O'Toole said.
Per police procedure, the two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative paid leave during the investigation.