Protest for Christian Taylor disrupts Arlington concert
Two days after a grand jury declined to indict former Arlington police officer Brad Miller, the family of the college student Miller fatally shot in August has asked Tarrant County prosecutors to refile charges.
Christian Taylor, 19, a Mansfield Summit High graduate who played football at Angelo State University, was shot four times by rookie officer Miller, 49, on Aug. 7.
Attorney Michael Heiskell wrote Friday to District Attorney Sharen Wilson that the family was “saddened and dismayed” by the grand jury’s decision.
Heiskell asked Wilson’s office to file charges of voluntary manslaughter or criminal negligent homicide against Miller.
On Friday evening, what started out as a peaceful protest in Arlington of the grand jury’s decision escalated into a shouting match at Levitt Pavilion. Protesters mounted the stage, interrupting a band’s performance.
Police arrested one man who faces charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, said Lt. Christopher Cook, an Arlington police spokesman. The man was displaying a weapon in a manner calculated to cause alarm, Cook said.
“We ended up taking a loaded [semiautomatic weapon] off the arrested person,” Cook said.
Damon Crenshaw, vice president of the Next Generation Action Network, the group that organized the protest, identified the man arrested as LaShadion Anthony, 29, of McKinney.
Anthony was one of two men armed with rifles who arrived at Arlington police headquarters shortly after the protest started at 7 p.m. Friday.
Both men said in interviews that they had come to protect protesters because they were not armed and they were targets.
“We want to make sure everyone here that’s unarmed is protected,” Anthony said before the march.
The second armed man, who identified himself as Solahkiyah Avdiyah of Dallas, said, “These protest groups are targets and need protection.”
Anthony said he was a member of a group called WORC (We of the Revolution Consult and Counsel). They are not members of the Next Generation Action Network, according to members.
About 50 protesters marched from Arlington police headquarters, 610 W. Division St., chanting, until they reached Levitt Pavilion, an Arlington music venue, where the band Humming House was playing. Some spectators began shouting at them.
“We were marching through the streets, and I guess they didn’t like what we were saying, and they started yelling at us,” Crenshaw said.
Some protesters lined up in front of the stage and faced the crowd.
“We shut it down,” Crenshaw said. “This is as much our street as much as it is their street.”
Crenshaw said the group was marching back to police headquarters when protesters began to demand that Anthony be released.
“Police took him down and he was not a threat at all,” Crenshaw said.
Request to refile charges
In his letter to Wilson, Heiskell said that Taylor “was exhibiting psychosis as a result of the synthetically laced marijuana he had previously smoked.”
Miller and his training officer, Heiskell wrote, were aware that they needed to use nonlethal force to apprehend Taylor.
“Indeed, even after Miller acted unilaterally to break protocol and break away away from his fellow officers, he disregarded substantial risks … and chose to fire four times his 9 mm Glock into Christian’s body while [his training officer], standing adjacent to him, acted reasonably and fired his Taser.”
Heiskell also pointed out that the district attorney’s office immediately refiled charges Wednesday against Ed McIver Jr., who is accused in the shooting of Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce. A grand jury declined to indict McIver on an attempted capital murder charge.
Heiskell quoted Wilson’s spokeswoman, Samantha Jordan, who said McIver should be prosecuted because “it is not acceptable to fire upon police officers acting in the line of duty.”
Heiskell wrote: “We hope and pray that you feel similarly that Miller should be prosecuted [because it is] ‘unacceptable’ that an unarmed teen exhibiting signs of psychosis should be fired upon by a rogue officer acting recklessly in a controlled perimeter environment.”
In a statement released Thursday, the Arlington NAACP branch also sought prosecution of Miller.
His used of deadly force was not justified, said Alisa Simmons, president of the Arlington NAACP. “The grand jury’s decision to clear the officer of criminal wrongdoing is perplexing,” Simmons said.
“We feel strongly this case should be prosecuted. It is important to remember that Miller, who is trained, is the one who intensified the scenario that led to his taking of Christian’s life when he violated a number of departmental policies,” Simmons said.