"New" Video Changes Nothing In Dillon Taylor's Suicide-By-Cop Death

MSNBC and several disreputable blogs are pushing recently released body camera footage of the shooting of Dillon Taylor, a very depressed young man who decided to commit “suicide-by-cop” in Salt Lake City on August 11, 2014.

Here is how MSNBC is attempting to spin the video to gin up more anti-law enforcement sentiment.

A video posted to YouTube Sunday* may raise new questions about the 2014 fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Twenty-year-old Dillon Taylor was fatally shot by Salt Lake City police officer Bron Cruz on August 11, 2014, just one week after the controversial police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Like Brown, Taylor did not have a weapon on him at the time. Still, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled in September that Cruz had reason to believe Taylor was attempting to pull a gun from his pants, effectively exonerating Cruz of any wrongdoing in the incident.

But a newly posted YouTube video may cast doubt on Gill’s decision. In it, Cruz can be seen exiting his vehicle and walking behind Taylor. Cruz draws his gun and yells at Taylor, who turns around, and with his hands near his waistband, does not immediately respond. Then, Cruz shoots Taylor.

According to KSL-TV, Gill says Taylor actively refused to comply with Cruz’s instruction to put his hands up. Taylor’s family, meanwhile, insists he simply did not hear Cruz because of the headphones in his ears, which, they say, were playing music. Under the law, a police officer is permitted to use deadly force if he perceives an imminent threat to his life.

You can review the body camera footage of the shooting if you so desire, but I’ll warn you in advance that the video is incredibly graphic and disturbing, and it doesn’t change the facts of the incident in the slightest.

Let’s be blunt: MSNBC and the other disreputable blogs are promoting the lie—the abject, intentional mistruth—that Dillon Taylor wasn’t aware of the police, that he didn’t respond, and that he didn’t do anything to cause officer Cruz to fire his weapon.

The fact of the matter is that a very depressed Dillon Taylor knew exactly what he was doing, and ensured that officer had no choice but to fire on him in self-defense.

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We covered the suicide-by-cop of Dillon Taylor in detail in a frame-by-frame breakdown on October 1, 2014.

When the officers arrived in separate vehicles with their lights flashing, two of the three men were immediately compliant and put their hands up. Dillion Taylor was not complaint, and immediately began walking away, his hands at his sides. This, of course, immediately drew the attention of the officers, two of whom began approaching Taylor. One approached from Taylor’s right, and the other officer, Bron Cruz, followed from directly behind Taylor. Their weapons are raised at a classic “low ready,” where they can bring their weapons up and fire if they see a deadly force threat, and they maintained about a 5-7 yard stand-off distance from Taylor.

The officers continue issuing commands and keep their relative positions as Taylor continues to ignore them and keeps walking away.

Taylor then makes the (incredibly stupid) decision to thrust his hands in his pants under his shirt, which any reasonable person would interpret as the officers did; a possible attempt to put his hands on a weapon.

Here’s the screen capture of that moment from Officer Cruz’s body camera.

dillion taylor fatal decision
This is the moment Dillion Taylor (still walking away) dramatically escalated the situation, placing his hands inside his pants, under his shirt, as if attempting to acquire a weapon. The officer on the right side of the frame is pulling his weapon up to a “ready” position; Officer Cruz (wearing the body camera) is also in the process of transitioning from “low ready” to “ready.”

Just a few second later, Taylor then turns to square up with the trailing Officer Cruz, his hands inside his pants. Trained shooters attempt to square up with their targets before firing on them if at all possible; Taylor’s decision to square up with Officer Cruz further escalates the situation and identifies him as a clear threat.

This is the moment that Dillion Taylor escalated the situation, by ignoring police commands and thrusting his hands in his pants  under his shirt, as if he was attempting to acquire a weapon.
Dillion Taylor further escalated the situation when he turned 180 degrees and squared up on the trailing officer, his hands till under his shirt and inside his pants, as if acquiring a  hidden handgun.

Taylor continues to ignore police commands, despite the weapons now clearly pointed at him, and the escalating commands from the police. This situation had become critical, all because of Taylor’s refusal to listen.

Taylor is still backing away from officers when the officers continue to shout, “Show us your hands!”

Taylor reacts by shouting back, “No, fool!”

He then inexplicably and quickly rips his shirt up, the exact movement you would expect from a man attempting to move a garment up and out of the way so that he can draw a gun.

Even with two police officers pointing guns at his chest, Dillion Taylor refuses to act with reason. Instead he rips his shirt upward as if drawing a weapon.
Even with two police officers pointing guns at his chest, Dillion Taylor refuses to act with reason. Instead he rips his shirt upward as if drawing a weapon.

Shocking no one with any training whatsoever, Officer Cruz opens fire in a classic “hammer”—two quick shots based off of the initial sight picture—to the chest.

Dillion Taylor shot
Dillion Taylor reacts to being shot.

The reason Officer Bron Cruz shot Dillion Taylor could not be more obvious.

It was a textbook response to the sort of training that every law enforcement officer undergoes, and even the shot placement is as expected for this sort of situation. The first shot struck the chest, the rapid re-engagement of the trigger for the second shot in a “hammer” tends to pull the second shot low.

One person, and one person only, is responsible for the death of Dillion Taylor. That responsible person is Dillion Taylor.

While we can’t be sure why Taylor acted the way he did, his final two Facebook posts suggest that he was very depressed.

dillion taylor fb

The “new video” is nothing more than a continuation of the video we analyzed in 2014, which shows the terrible, final results of Dillon Taylor’s decision to feign drawing a firearm so that Officer Cruz would be forced to fire on him.

Contrary to the claims of “Justice for Dillon Taylor” supporters, nothing in the video changes the facts of this case.

Dillon Taylor was aware of the police and their lawful commands. Saying otherwise is lie. Dillon Taylor clearly heard the officer’s command to “show us your hands,” and clearly responded with a defiant, “No, fool!” Claims that he didn’t hear and couldn’t respond to the officers is a blatant and obvious falsehood.

He did hear them. He did clearly respond with a defiant refusal to comply.

Dillon Taylor then explosively faked drawing a weapon, which forces trained officers to fire in self-defense.

Taylor’s family is entitled to feel sorrow and anguish, and pain over his loss, but it is blindingly clear that the person who chose the course of action which lead to his death is Dillon Taylor, and Dillon Taylor alone. This graphic video showing the last minutes of his life ebbing away do nothing to change that fact.

We feel sympathy for the pain the Taylor family must be experiencing, but blaming Officer Cruz for Dillon Taylor’s death is an exercise in blame-shifting, and nothing more.

May 16, 2021 11:30 AM ET
May 16, 2021 8:30 AM ET