WARNING: The Steven Taylor shooting video above contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.
UPDATE — Sept. 3, 2020: According to multiple reports, the local DA charged the officer who fired the shot with voluntary manslaughter.
ORIGINAL STORY: San Leandro Police shot and killed a man inside a Bay Area Walmart in California on Saturday. The suspect wielded a baseball bat, allegedly threatening customers and approaching police. Now local residents and civil rights activists demand the police answer for what some see as a senseless shooting.
San Leandro Police Kills Bat-Weilding Steven Taylor
The incident took place April 18. Officer body cam footage shows Steven Taylor wielding a baseball bat inside a Walmart. Officers demand he drop the bat, with one officer eventually Tasering Taylor; however, it has little effect. After Taylor continues to approach, the officer touches off a single shot. The shot initially staggers the suspect, but he finally drops the bat and begins stumbling away. Another officer then deploys a second Taser, which dropped Taylor for good.
However, Taylor family lawyer Lee Merritt sees the shooting differently. He said Taylor no longer represented a threat and also suffered from a mental health crisis.
“He was shot after he had become completely helpless and no longer represented a threat,” Merritt told theguardian.com.
“Their job, according to standard operating procedures, was to get Mr. Taylor help,” Merritt said. “He had been seriously wounded and was suffering from a mental health crisis. They had to treat him quickly. they did the opposite and exacerbated his injuries.”
Witness Says Steven Taylor Posed Threat
But at least one eye witness account saw the scene as a good shooting. A man, under the handle Mike_Myke, posted a video of the shooting. He said the suspect left officers with little choice, according to vice.com.
“This dude was saying he wanted to die before the police even arrived,” posted Mike_Myke on Instagram. “He waited for the police to get here while he was swinging a bat. He was threatening to kill the door greeter. People offered to help him and he refused. He was saying everybody was living his life and he didn’t care anymore.
“The officer pulled out his gun and told the guy to get back,” the post continued. “The officer started walking backwards with his weapon drawn and the suspect continued to walk forward with the bat. When he went to swing, that’s when the officer shot him. He was shot 1 time and that’s when he went down.”