San Leandro councilmembers voted in closed session on Monday night to request an independent investigation by the state attorney general’s office into the fatal shooting of Steven Taylor, an African American resident, by police on April 18.
The move comes amid the backdrop of the killing by Minneapolis Police of George Floyd, which has roiled the nation over the past week, including a frenetic night of looting, arson, and violence in San Leandro on Sunday night.
The closed session item was approved unanimously by the council, according to City Attorney Richard Pio Roda. Councilmember Corina Lopez made the motion and was seconded by Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr.
San Leandro police responded to a call on April 18 that an African American man was harassing customers and employees inside the Walmart store on Hesperian Boulevard while brandishing an aluminum bat. Taylor was confronted by an officer and later tased before the officer discharged his weapon. A second, late-arriving officer then deployed a second Taser gun on Taylor.
Specifically, Monday evening’s action by the council merely authorizes a formal request to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the shooting. That Becerra’s office will accept the request is not a given.
Current investigations by the San Leandro Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will still continue regardless of the possibility for a third investigation into the Taylor shooting, according to city officials.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s death continues to shine a negative light on the San Leandro Police Department that has only gotten worse over just the past week.
Not only did the Floyd killing in Minneapolis reignite the debate about Taylor in San Leandro, but a lawsuit filed last week by a then-pregnant woman has further inflamed the situation by alleging a San Leandro police officer “stomped” on her stomach during a traffic stop in June 2019 and caused her to have a miscarriage.
The City Council is scheduled to discuss the latest lawsuit at a special closed session on Wednesday evening.