Father hopes slain Arlington teen’s funeral doesn’t become a media circus

Christian Taylor’s father, Adrian Taylor, speaks at a candlelight vigil Saturday. He said Friday that he hopes his son’s funeral doesn’t become a media circus.
Christian Taylor’s father, Adrian Taylor, speaks at a candlelight vigil Saturday. He said Friday that he hopes his son’s funeral doesn’t become a media circus. Special to the Star-Telegram

After a numbing week and a barrage of media coverage, Adrian Taylor on Friday was a father bracing to bury his son.

“I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for tomorrow,” said Taylor, whose 19-year-old son, Christian Taylor, was killed by rookie Arlington police officer Brad Miller early Aug. 7.

“I really don’t know how to do it. I’m praying and asking for strength.”

The funeral is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Koinonia Christian Church in southeast Arlington.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and police Chief Will Johnson join relatives of Christian Taylor Wednesday night at a prayer meeting. (Special to the Star-Telegram/Brandon Wade)

The Angelo State University football player, who was black, was shot inside an Arlington car dealership by Miller, 49, who is white. Miller arrived with other officers to investigate a 911 call about a burglary.

After an initial administrative investigation, Police Chief Will Johnson announced Tuesday that he had fired Miller. When a separate criminal investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, which could present the case to a grand jury, Johnson said.

‘Think of our children’

The fatal shooting has made headlines nationally, the latest in a string of police killings of unarmed black men in the year since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., galvanized the Black Lives Matter campaign.

On Friday evening, about two dozen protesters gathered at the Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown Fort Worth for a Black Lives Matter rally.

“We do not want people dying in our streets,” said Angelico McKinney, one of the protesters. “We are here today for solutions to help our community. This is about finding solutions.”

Organizer Kyev Tatum, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Tarrant County, said the rally was intended to begin a conversation about race and police brutality.

“Think of our children. Is this what we want our children to see happening? No!” Tatum said. “Let’s make a difference.”

Police to pay respects

Lt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman, said Friday that Johnson and other officers plan to attend the funeral “to show their respect for Mr. Taylor and his family.”

Taylor, who graduated from Mansfield Summit High School, was expected to start football practice this week at Angelo State, an NCAA Division II school in San Angelo. He would have headed back to school by Monday after his nearly weekly visit home, his father said.

“He was coming home for a couple of days, to go to church,” Adrian Taylor said. His son had plenty of friends at college. “But he just loved to come home and go to church with his family.”

Taylor said he hopes the intensity of the public interest in the family tragedy begins to fade.

“I’m mainly hoping that the [funeral] doesn’t become a circus,” he said. “The main thing is the media. It’s a job for them.

“But today and tomorrow is all about him. I will speak more after I lay him to rest.”

Christian Taylor’s great-uncle Clyde Fuller said the family faces a long recovery.

“He’s gone now,” Fuller said. “The family just has to take it one day at a time.”

On Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, Arlington police Chief Will Johnson provided a timeline of events leading to the fatal shooting last week of Christian Taylor, 19, by an Arlington police officer. Johnson announced that he had fired the officer for viol

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7186

Twitter: @Kaddmann_ST

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