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” last week. 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 backward, 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.
Meanwhile, a statement by the mayor attracted additional criticism after it failed to mention Taylor’s name and said that he had “passed away.”
“Like so many of you, my heart aches for the loss of life in our community this weekend. The outcome of this incident was tragic,” San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said. “I offer heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of the man who passed away.”
A number of public speakers were quick to notice the omission of Taylor’s name and the description of him passing away. “Don’t even bother offering your condolences for Steven Taylor, who you didn’t even name. Who didn’t pass away as the speaker said. Who was executed in a time when he needed support the most,” said a speaker who was not identified in the live-stream.
The city appeared to realize its error. The mayor’s statement was posted to the city’s web site, and now includes Taylor’s name, while removing the phrase, “passed way.”
Ahern’s funding request for more deputies is $106 million
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern is increasing his request to the Board of Supervisor to hire hundreds of additional deputies and non-sworn employees over the next three years.
Ahern is asking for $106 million in funding to hire 265 sheriff’s deputies over the next three years, and 84 non-sworn positions. The proposed expenditure includes $22 million to hire 107 health and behavioral care workers at Santa Rita Jail.
The request in March asked the board to allocate $85 million for an additional 216 deputies and 47 non-sworn employees. The number of health care workers in the original proposal was also 107. Both plans came from a staffing consultant’s report that deemed that the sheriff’s department understaffed.
Ahern’s ask comes at a time when county supervisors are spending furiously to keep safety net services flowing and propping up community-based organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A large budget shortfall is expected to be announced later this week.
Meanwhile, vocal critics of the Sheriff’s Department are strongly questioning whether the solution to a number of recent deaths of inmates, and other alleged misconduct at Santa Rita Jail is to hire more deputies.
The funding request was delayed once more following the death of Supervisor Richard Valle’s father.Since it first appeared on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda in late March, the item has been continued by the supervisors on three separate occasions.
stop in its tracks Movement
to Delay minimum wage
The East Bay push to delay a scheduled minimum wage increase for workers, started earlier this month in Hayward, appears dead in its tracks after the Alameda City Council turned away a proposal to study a similar action last week.
“I want to make sure that we are exhausting all of our objectives for keeping businesses afloat,”Alameda Council-member Malia Vella said.
Alameda council-members approved financial relief for small businesses, including a $7,500 city grant program to help during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Publicly-traded companies and financial institutions are excluded from the program.