Body-camera video of the fatal shooting of Steven Taylor by San Leandro Police last Saturday shows the officer and the victim were face-to-face just moments before he was shot in the chest.
The San Leandro Police Department released what they called a “critical incident video” on Wednesday afternoon. The 13-minute video includes additional cell phone video, along with body-camera video from both officers involved in the incident, in addition, to audio of the 911 call.
“We know this incident has garnered much attention in our community,” San Leandro Police Chief Jeff Tudor said. “And that’s why we’re releasing this video now before the investigation is complete so that we can provide as much information as possible to our community as the process continues.”
The names of officers were not released out of concern they could be threatened with violence, the video noted. However, the officer’s faces are clearly shown throughout each video.
Taylor, a 33-year-old African-American man, had suffered from mental illness in the past, his family said earlier this week. They added he may have been having such an episode at the Walmart on Hesperian Boulevard.
The 911 call described Taylor as holding a bat and threatening employees and customers inside the store. He was suspected of theft, the caller told the dispatcher.
An alternate cell phone video shows a San Leandro police officer confronting Taylor inside the store. At one point they are standing face-to-face before the officer makes a failed attempt to take the bat out of Taylor’s hands. Taylor then abruptly jumps away.
The moment is important. During investigations, police officers involved in fatal shootings often defend the use of excessive force due to a fear for their own safety.
A Taser gun is later deployed by the same officer before he shortly discharged his weapon. A wave of screams from customers inside the store can be heard. As Taylor stumbled backwards, a second officer also use his Taser gun to subdue.
Body-camera video from the second officer shows he entered the store just as the first officer shot Taylor. Attempts to revive Taylor were unsuccessful and he died at the scene, according to police.
The attorney for Taylor’s family had previously questioned why a second Taser was used on the victim. Others have criticized police for failing to quickly offer medical care to Taylor.
The videos also show customers and Walmart employees were in close proximity to the incident. In one video, a customer is seen walking back and forth behind Taylor just moments before he was shot by police. The shooting also occurred in front of what appears to be an array of clothing racks.
San Leandro Police and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office are currently investigating the shooting.