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Estate of Taylor v. Salt Lake City

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 17, 2019

THE ESTATE OF DILLON TAYLOR, CODY TAYLOR, JERRAIL TAYLOR, TEESHA TAYLOR, and ADAM THAYNE, Plaintiffs,
v.
SALT LAKE CITY, CITY OF SOUTH SALT LAKE, SALT LAKE COUNTY, BRON CRUZ, ANDREW SYLLELOGLOU; UPPSEN DOWNES, CHRIS KOTRODIMOS, JAMES SPANGENBERG, CHIEF MIKE BROWN, VAUGHN DELAHUNTY, CRAIG HICKEN, CHASE HERMANSEN, JOE SUTERA, CHIEF JACK CARRUTH, and JOHN and JANE DOES 1-35, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          DAVID NUFFER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises from a police encounter with Dillon Taylor (“Mr. Taylor”), Jerrail Taylor (“Jerrail”), and Adam Thayne (“Adam”) on August 11, 2014.[1] The encounter resulted in the shooting death of Mr. Taylor and the detention of Jerrail and Adam.[2]

         These events are a tragedy to everyone involved and to the community. The resulting impact undoubtedly remains deeply felt and weighs heavy on the hearts and minds of the parties and their families now several years later. On a broader scale, this case presents important issues to the community as a whole. The qualified immunity doctrine can lead to results that some may view as harsh or unjust, regardless of the outcome. But the law necessitates the doctrine's application to the facts of this case. There is no way to reset or change the past. Yet being mindful of the past can guide future decisions and conduct to avoid similar unfortunate consequences.

         Plaintiffs' Complaint asserts several claims for violation of civil rights and wrongful death against multiple government entities and law enforcement officers.[3] Through a series of stipulations, [4] the only remaining claims are Plaintiffs' first cause of action against Officer Bron Cruz for use of excessive force[5] and Plaintiffs' fourth cause of action against Salt Lake City for deliberate indifference in its policies, training, and investigation relating to Officer Cruz's conduct.[6] Officer Cruz and Salt Lake City seek summary judgment on these claims, arguing that Officer Cruz is entitled to qualified immunity, and that Salt Lake City cannot be held liable because Officer Cruz's conduct did not violate a statutory or constitutional right.[7] Plaintiffs argue that genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment.[8]

         Because the undisputed material facts demonstrate that Officer Cruz's use of deadly force in the August 11, 2014 encounter with Mr. Taylor was objectively reasonable under the circumstances, Officer Cruz did not violate a statutory or constitutional right and is entitled to qualified immunity as a matter of law. And because Officer Cruz's conduct did not violate a statutory or constitutional right, Salt Lake City cannot, as a matter of law, be held liable for Officer Cruz's conduct. Therefore, the Motion for Summary Judgment[9] is GRANTED.

         Contents

         EVIDENTIARY ISSUE ................................................................................................................. 4

         UNDISPUTED FACTS .................................................................................................................. 5

         STANDARD OF REVIEW .......................................................................................................... 30

         DISCUSSION ............................................................................................................................... 31

         Officer Cruz is entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiffs' excessive force claim because his use of deadly force in the August 11, 2014 encounter with Mr. Taylor did not violate a statutory or constitutional right .............................................................. 31

         Officer Cruz's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable in light of the dispatch report of a man with a gun and the unknown motivations of the suspects ..................................................................................................... 33

         Officer Cruz's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable in light of the potential threat of serious physical harm posed by Mr. Taylor ................ 37

         Mr. Taylor refused to comply with the officers' repeated commands that he stop and show his hands ........................................................... 38

         Mr. Taylor made a sudden and hostile “draw stroke motion” with his hands while refusing to comply with the officers' commands, and while directly facing Officer Cruz ................................................. 41

         Mr. Taylor and Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou were in close proximity during the encounter ..................................................................... 47

         Mr. Taylor manifested hostile and defiant intentions in relation to the officers ........................................................................................... 48

         Conclusion: Mr. Taylor posed a potential threat of serious physical harm to the officers or others ................................................................. 49

         Officer Cruz's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable in light of Mr. Taylor's attempts to resist or evade arrest ................................................ 50

         Officer Cruz's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances ...................................................................................... 51

         Salt Lake City cannot be held liable on Plaintiffs' municipal liability claim relating to Officer Cruz's conduct .......................................................................................... 54

         ORDER ......................................................................................................................................... 55

         EVIDENTIARY ISSUE

         As a preliminary matter, Plaintiffs object to the admissibility of statements made by Jerrail and Adam while they were detained and interviewed by law enforcement officers on August 11, 2014.[10] Plaintiffs argue that because the statements were obtained in violation of Jerrail and Adam's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the statements are inadmissible.[11]

         “Although the Tenth Circuit has not weighed in on this precise issue, ‘federal courts of appeals have widely held that the exclusionary rule does not apply in § 1983 cases.'”[12] These “[c]ourts have been reluctant to extend the exclusionary rule beyond the criminal context because its purpose is to deter police misconduct and safeguard Fourth Amendment rights, rather than serve as [a] personal constitutional right of those aggrieved.”[13] “Application of the exclusionary rule in the civil context [also] comes at a significant cost: ‘officers could be forced to pay damages based on an overly truncated version of the evidence.'”[14] Indeed, “[r]ecognizing these substantial costs, the U.S. Supreme Court has ‘repeatedly declined to extend the exclusionary rule to proceedings other than criminal trials.'”[15]

         These authorities are persuasive. Moreover, Plaintiffs repeatedly rely on Jerrail and Adam's statements to officers in support of their arguments and in attempting to establish genuine issues of material fact.[16] It would be improper to invoke the exclusionary rule to shield statements that Plaintiffs believe are unfavorable, while disregarding the rule for statements that Plaintiffs believe favorable. The exclusionary rule will not apply to the statements made by Jerrail and Adam while they were detained and interviewed by law enforcement officers on August 11, 2014. The statements are admissible.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS[17]

         1. At approximately 7:00 p.m. on August 11, 2014, a 911 call was dispatched to Salt Lake City police officers by radio as a “report of a man with a gun” at 1900 South 200 East; “suspect flashed a gun at the complainant but no threat was made;” “male Hispanic wearing white shirt, red pants, red baseball cap; also another male Hispanic wearing a striped shirt; they were last seen southbound on 200 East.”[18]

         2. The dispatcher also informed officers that no shots had been fired; no one was in danger; the complainant was not cooperative and hung up on the call taker; and the complainant refused to provide her identifying information.[19]

         3. The dispatcher asked officers if there was “any unit coming clear to handle a check?”[20]

         4. The call was not dispatched as a “brandishing” call.[21]

         5. Officer Cruz was on patrol in the area and responded to the dispatch report to ensure that the suspects were not a threat to public safety and to determine whether any laws had been or were being violated, including a possible brandishing.[22]

         6. Officer Cruz did not notice the comments “no shots fired” or “no one in danger.”[23]

         7. Officer Uppsen Downes was the first (between Officers Andrew Sylleloglou, Cruz, and Downes) to respond to the dispatch call.[24]

         8. The first officer to respond was Sergeant Charly Goodman. Officer Downes responded to the call approximately 10 seconds after it was dispatched and responded, “back 160, ” which is the No. for Sergeant Goodman. Officer Cruz responded approximately 47 seconds later. Then Officer Sylleloglou asked Officer Cruz if he wanted help or backup.[25]

         9. Officer Cruz indicated that he wanted backup, and Officers Sylleloglou and Downes responded that they were en route.[26]

         10. Officer Cruz believed the call was dispatched as to a group of men, one of whom had “brandished” a weapon.[27]

         11. Neither Officers Downes nor Sylleloglou ever used the term “brandish” to describe the call.[28]

         12. Officer Downes did not believe the call warranted his emergency lights or siren when traveling to the area under department policy.[29]

         13. Upon approaching the area in his police vehicle, Officer Cruz saw three men walking together, who were later identified as Mr. Taylor, Jerrail, and Adam. Two of the men generally matched the descriptions provided by the dispatcher. The three men were proceeding along 2100 South at approximately 150 East and heading west.[30]

         14. Officer Cruz continued following the three men in his police vehicle while staying approximately a block away. He indicated to dispatch that he would wait for the arrival of backup officers before approaching the three men.[31]

         15. Officer Cruz asked the dispatcher whether the report identified which of the three men flashed the gun, and was told that the log did not indicate which one.[32]

         16. Officer Cruz was 50 to 75 feet away from the three men, and facing them, when he observed them walk west toward him and cross State Street at 2100 South.[33]

         17. As the three men reached the west side of the intersection, Officer Cruz observed the male in the white shirt, later identified as Mr. Taylor, walk up to a car stopped at the red light and interact with the driver, while the other two males were “throwing their hands in the air, kind of making a big scene.” This interaction lasted five to 10 seconds.[34]

         18. Officer Cruz described the exchange as “some kind of distraction or disturbance” and possibly “harassing the driver.”[35] Officer Cruz stated the exchange was “not typical” and “unusual, ” since “you don't just walk up to people in a crosswalk, somebody that maybe you don't know, and start engaging them while they are sitting in their car in traffic.”[36]

         19. Salt Lake City Police Crime Scene Technician Benjamin Bender also witnessed the exchange and described it as:

A male in a white t-shirt and blue jeans approached a red sedan that was waiting at the northbound red light. This Technician's view of the male was obstructed by passing vehicles, but the male appeared to high-five the driver of the vehicle and then jogged across the remainder of the intersection where he joined the other two males at the southwest corner.[37]

         20. Officer Cruz then observed the three men as they entered the 7-Eleven convenience store on the corner of 2100 South and State Street, and decided to wait until they exited the 7-Eleven before approaching them.[38]

         21. While watching from across the street in a Subway parking lot, Officer Cruz expressed to Officer Downes that he really hoped “those guys don't rob the store, ”[39] and that he “hope[d] nothing bad is going to happen in the store.”[40] When asked what he meant by this, Officer Cruz stated in his deposition:

Well, it was a - it was a more personal conversation between Officer Downes and I. You go to - one of the first things you learn as an officer - you know, man with a gun calls, they are not uncommon. And when you are prepared, you run as many scenarios through your head as possible, just to be as prepared as possible. And one of those scenarios that had crossed my mind ever so briefly was something - you know, a convenience store robbery. They are very common. It's just something that crossed my mind, just another scenario.[41]

         22. Officer Downes noted at that time it was “[b]usiness as normal it appeared for the store.”[42]

         23. Surveillance video from the 7-Eleven shows the three men entering the store, making a purchase, and then exiting the store a short time later.[43]

         24. In the one or two minutes the three men were inside the 7-Eleven, they completed their purchases without incident and exited in a normal manner without having robbed the store, harassed any customers, or caused any disturbance.[44]

         25. The three men exited the 7-Eleven after Officer Downes arrived and as Officer Sylleloglou was arriving.[45]

         26. Mr. Taylor exited the 7-Eleven a few feet behind Jerrail and Adam.[46]

         27. Officer Cruz called out over the radio that the three men were leaving the 7-Eleven as Officers Downes and Cruz were already on their way across the street from where they were staged at the Subway parking lot.[47]

         28. Officer Downes arrived at the 7-Eleven just ahead of Officer Cruz and drove his vehicle past the front of the store to cover the rear in case the three men ran away in that direction.[48]

         29. In his interview, Officer Cruz stated:

[Officer] Downes and I both went across the street. I anticipated I, I had the south position and for reasons I can't explain, [Officer] Downes, he said, “I'm going out back.” Um, as these three just walked straight out into the parking lot. Um, and so he just kept driving. He drove around the building but I felt, felt good when I saw [Officer Sylleloglou].[49]

         30. At his deposition, Officer Cruz stated: “I - I don't remember hearing [Officer] Downes express that he would go around back.”[50] And when asked how he felt when Officer Downes drove to the back, Officer Cruz stated: “It didn't make me feel - at the time, I don't know that it made me feel anything. I was focused on the suspects in front of me;”[51] “I would not say it worried me; not at the time.”[52]

         31. Neither Officers Sylleloglou nor Downes were concerned by Officer Downes's decision to drive to the rear of the 7-Eleven, but rather saw it as a necessary move and standard procedure.[53]

         32. In his interview, Officer Cruz stated that when he initiated his red and blue emergency lights, “for a split second, I felt a little bit better about the situation.”[54]

         33. Although Officer Cruz had engaged the lights on his own vehicle, Officer Downes did not turn on his vehicle's red and blue emergency lights at any time during the encounter.[55]

         34. Officer Sylleloglou was the first to arrive on the scene at the 7-Eleven, pulling directly in front of Jerrail and Adam as they exited the store.[56]

         35. Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou approached the men in their marked police vehicles from opposite directions. Officer Cruz approached from the east and Officer Sylleloglou approached from the west, forming a barricade or “V” blocking the path of the three men as they walked alongside each other in the 7-Eleven's parking lot.[57]

         36. Officer Cruz was wearing his dark tinted, department-issued, “duty Oakleys” throughout the encounter with the three men.[58]

         37. As the three men exited the 7-Eleven, Officer Cruz believed that all three of them looked at him and the other officers, and he stated in his interview:

But what eased tensions in my mind, slightly, because they all lined up perfectly for us. They were all perfectly lined up and that just made me feel so good inside. All their hands were just down at their sides. I could see their hands and the tensions just, I just felt it go down for a split second.[59]

         38. Mr. Taylor appeared to look directly at Officer Cruz's police vehicle approaching from the east with its lights flashing as it moved in front of the path of the three men.[60]

         39. Officer Cruz described that moment as: “He looks right at me for a split second he turned around and he starts walking off.”[61]

         40. Officer Cruz also stated in his interview:

Um, and as soon as [the two men raised their hands] it was pretty much simultaneous in my mind. They did this and again, he looked dead at me and I looked dead at him and as soon as they did that, he turns around and this is what I see.[62]

         41. Officer Cruz stated in his deposition that the first time he felt somewhere on the “spectrum of fear” was “when [he] looked into [Mr. Taylor]'s eyes.”[63]

         42. In his interview, Officer Cruz explained:

Q: Um, you said on first contact two of them complied. Put their hands up just when you said the word, “Stop”?
A: Yes.
Q: But the third one looked at you - in the white shirt?
A: In the white shirt.
Q: And kept walking?
A: He looked directly at me and ah, he turned around and walked off with - and his hands, his hands is what, his hands is what did it.
Q: You said that he, ah, looked at you with defiance?
A: Yeah. He looked at me like, ah, he, I mean I don't know how to explain it. Um, you know but you can tell when you look into somebody's eyes when you're working with them. Um, that's when you know it's, it's, it's ah, it's one of the clues that we have when we're dealing with people. Um their eyes can tell you a lot. Um, and his eyes were just complete just 100% defiance. He had this, this, this look on his face like you know? Like I, ah, hate? Um, um, and ah, like he was, he was not going to do anything that I said. Um, and it was just a horrible feeling. Um, looking at him. Having him, you know just the, it was just horrible. Just hate, defiance, that he had in his eyes.
Q: And you've seen this kinda look before you're saying with, with work-related circumstances?
A; I've seen, ah, I don't know that I've seen it like that. I mean, I've seen a type of it before. I've seen it when people aren't gonna comply and they look at you like, “I'll fight you first.” Q: Umm, hmm.
A: “I'll do whatever I need to do but you're not, you're not taking me down.” Q: Okay.
A: Um, and, and that's yeah, it was an extreme version of that.[64]

         43. Mr. Taylor also appeared to look at Officer Sylleloglou's police vehicle approaching from the west as it moved in front of the three men.[65]

         44. Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou, wearing their patrol uniforms, exited their vehicles and gave commands to the three men to stop and show their hands.[66]

         45. Because one of the men was reportedly armed, Officer Sylleloglou drew his gun in a low ready position, but did not aim at the three men.[67]

         46. Two of the men, later identified as Jerrail and Adam, immediately stopped and raised their hands.[68]

         47. In his deposition, Officer Cruz described the initial encounter:

I exited my police car and all I did was tell the individuals to stop. I had already gotten that look of defiance from [Mr. Taylor]. The other two immediately put their hands in the air. . . . Right when I'm stopping my car.[69]

         48. Officer Cruz explained in his interview that when he saw the two men with their hands in the air:

[I]t scared the crap out of me when those two raised their hands. Like they knew there was a gun or weapon was involved, that's the only time they do that. They never put their hands up like that. Those two put their hands straight up in the air and that confirmed to me, even more, there was a gun involved.[70]
So, the other two put their hands out, just like this. Um, and, and without any, without any prompting that, this is what they did. Which, again, was very, it was even more concerning. Uh, because people don't do this when we contact them unless we believe they have a gun. Or they're armed.[71]

         49. Officer Downes stated in his deposition that in his experience the presence of officers makes people put their hands up “a lot of the time.”[72]

         50. Jerrail and Adam acknowledged that they both saw the marked police vehicles approaching from opposite directions and uniformed police officers approaching the three men and giving commands to stop and show their hands.[73]

         51. The third man, wearing a white shirt and later identified as Mr. Taylor, looked at the officers, but did not stop, and instead turned and walked in the opposite direction away from the officers and Jerrail and Adam, moving back towards the entrance of the 7-Eleven.[74]

         52. When Jerrail was asked if he thought there was any possible way that Mr. Taylor could not have seen the three police vehicles and the officers approaching with their guns drawn, he stated: “I don't know how he didn't see them.”[75]

         53. Immediately upon his arrival, Officer Sylleloglou exited and ran around the front of his vehicle in a south/west diagonal in pursuit of Mr. Taylor, who was walking away.[76]

         54. Officer Sylleloglou stated in his interview that he could not see Mr. Taylor clearly at first:

[Mr. Taylor] was kinda covered by the red truck . . . cause he was kind of, sort of, behind it.[77]
I didn't, I don't remember seeing anything in his hands. Like I said, he was partially obstructed by the red truck.[78]

         55. Mr. Taylor was already walking away from Officer Cruz before Officer Cruz had fully exited his vehicle and cleared its door.[79]

         56. Officer Cruz initially followed some distance behind Mr. Taylor and Officer Sylleloglou.[80]

         57. After turning his attention to Mr. Taylor, Officer Cruz “wish[ed he] had another couple guys to watch the other two [men, ]” except that “their eyes looked harmless.”[81]

         58. Mr. Taylor can be seen on the 7-Eleven surveillance video and still photos walking back toward the 7-Eleven, and around the front of a red truck before heading west along the front of the store.[82]

         59. As Mr. Taylor walked away, Officer Sylleloglou shouted several times: “Hey, you in the white shirt, stop.” Mr. Taylor did not stop or show his hands.[83]

         60. Jerrail saw that Mr. Taylor was walking away and told him to “stop.”[84]

         61. When Jerrail saw Mr. Taylor walking away, he figured that Mr. Taylor was avoiding contact with the officers. He stated in his interview: “I don't know if he was ignoring the cops, like, ‘Fuck it, I'm gonna cut through here and walk to the Trax.”[85]

         62. Jerrail described the situation:

In my head, I'm thinking, my, my head's, my adrenaline's running, I'm thinking, “What the fuck did I just do? I can't walk in America and buy a goddamn drink and a beer?” like, “What am I doing wrong here.” I'm all, “What the hell?” And [Dillon] was like, “Ah shit, ” you know what I'm saying? Like, “What the fuck did we do.” So he was, “alright, y'all, fuck this.” He put his headphones in, walked away, the next thing you know the cop was all, “Hey, stop, stop.” But he's got his headphones in, he can't hear him.[86]

         63. Jerrail saw Mr. Taylor's headphones were in and was concerned Mr. Taylor could not hear what the officers were saying behind him as he walked away. He stated in his interview: “I was like, ‘What the fuck,' and as I'm getting on the ground, I see [Dillon] walking, I'm like, ‘Oh fuck, here we go.' I'm like, ‘Dude, just fuck stop,' but he had his headphones in.”[87]

         64. As Officer Downes arrived on the east side of the 7-Eleven parking lot, he saw Jerrail and Adam standing by the police vehicles and that Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou were pursuing Mr. Taylor as he walked away along the sidewalk next to the 7-Eleven.[88]

         65. Officer Downes approached Jerrail and Adam where they were stopped and detained them.[89]

         66. Jerrail and Adam began arguing with Officer Downes, asking him what was happening and why the police were “hassling” them. The “back and forth” continued until Officer Downes heard Officer Cruz fire his weapon.[90]

         67. Officer Downes did not draw his gun on the two men. He explained in his deposition: “Because I could see their hands, and they were - those two individuals were essentially compliant. They were not fighting with me. We were just investigating. So, at that point, it was not a threat.”[91] He noted further:

For me, the factors were we had information there was a possible weapon. The two that I was dealing with did not present as an initial threat. They were not playing with their waistband. They didn't take a fighting stance. They stopped as if I were to stop you, kind of questioning why. So that doesn't register to me as an initial threat.
Still we know there was a possible weapon. We don't know if it was them or not because a lot of criminals will hide that fact and act like everyone else. So there was still caution.
I wanted to be close enough where I would be able to control the situation better because [Officer] Cruz was going towards the other individual, and there were civilians all around us, non-law enforcement personnel. So if they decided to produce a weapon, there is no telling where those rounds are going to go. If I'm standing too far back, I cannot maintain positive control.[92]

         68. As Mr. Taylor walked away with Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou in pursuit, Officer Downes remained with Jerrail and Adam. As the “backing officer, ” he directed 20% of his attention toward Officer Cruz and 80% of his attention toward Jerrail and Adam.[93]

         69. Officer Downes continued to bounce back and forth between the two men and looking in the direction of Officer Cruz, but with his focus on Mr. Taylor.[94]

         70. Based on his understanding that one of the three men had a gun, Officer Cruz believed that the gun was very likely in the possession of Mr. Taylor, who was walking away and, unlike Jerrail and Adam, was not complying with the officers' commands to stop.[95]

         71. In his deposition, Officer Cruz explained: “I was maintaining distance at that - yeah, I was not trying to close on somebody that I believed had a gun.”[96]

         72. Officer Cruz stated that closing the distance would not “make any sense.”[97]

         73. Officer Cruz's body camera shows that Mr. Taylor was wearing a baggy t-shirt and baggy pants.[98]

         74. As Mr. Taylor walked along the side of the 7-Eleven away from Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou with his back to them, he can be seen raising his hands to the sides of his waist.[99]

         75. Mr. Taylor then put his hands inside the front waistband of his pants, and made digging motions with his hands, at which point Officer Cruz began training his weapon on Mr. Taylor.[100]

         76. Officer Cruz believed Mr. Taylor's hands were concealed in his waistband area due to the position of his elbows when viewed from behind.[101]

         77. As Mr. Taylor continued walking along the sidewalk in front of the 7-Eleven, Officer Cruz followed directly behind him, and Officer Sylleloglou walked south and west towards him, both shouting commands to “stop, you in the white shirt, ” and “get your hands out.”[102]

         78. Mr. Taylor did not stop but continued walking west along the sidewalk.[103]

         79. In his interview, Officer Cruz stated:

That was when I knew something was gonna be bad. Um, cause he looked right at me, um, with complete, total defiance in his eyes. Um, and when his hands disappeared that's when I drew my gun. Because I knew his hands, they were like this through his waistband.
And the way he looked at me? And then turned around? There was no doubt in my mind what he was doing with his hands.[104]

         80. Mr. Taylor's “look, ” combined with his turning around and walking away led Officer Cruz to conclude that when Mr. Taylor's hands went to his waistband:

I was 100%, 100% convinced when I saw him turn around that it was gonna be a gunfight. I know he had that gun that he'd be trying to kill us there was nothing else he could be doing than going for a gun.[105]

         81. Mr. Taylor “calmly walk[ing] away” and “creating distance” also heightened Officer Cruz's distress at the situation:

Um, and it scared me even more that he wasn't running away. He was buying time. He was buying time and he was creating distance. That's all he was doing. Very calmly walked away. With his hands right in his waist band.[106]

         82. Officer Sylleloglou also began training his gun on Mr. Taylor when he saw that Mr. Taylor appeared to put his hands inside the front waistband of his pants.[107]

         83. Officer Sylleloglou was north of Mr. Taylor in the 7-Eleven parking lot and walked in Mr. Taylor's direction but staying perpendicular to Mr. Taylor as he walked westward, while shouting repeated commands to Mr. Taylor to stop and show his hands.[108]

         84. Mr. Taylor looked directly at Officer Sylleloglou with a “mean mug” look on his face, meaning that it appeared he heard Officers Sylleloglou and Cruz shouting commands and was deliberately ignoring their commands. Officer Sylleloglou described the look on Mr. Taylor's face as hostile and defiant.[109]

         85. At this point, Mr. Taylor was no more than 15 feet in front of Officer Sylleloglou, looking at him, but still walking away.[110]

         86. Officer Sylleloglou was 100% certain that Mr. Taylor saw him, heard his commands, and deliberately chose to ignore them.[111]

         87. Jerrail recalled hearing Mr. Taylor say something along the lines of “what did we do” in response to the officers' commands.[112]

         88. At some point during the interaction, Mr. Taylor said something to Officer Sylleloglou about “shooting him.” When asked if he remembered exactly what Mr. Taylor said, Officer Sylleloglou responded: “He said, ‘What are you gonna do, shh, I think it was - this is as close to verbatim as I can get - ‘What are you gonna do, shoot me? What are you gonna do? You gonna shoot me? You gonna shoot me?'”[113]

         89. Officer Cruz never reported hearing this exchange. Instead, he only reported hearing Mr. Taylor saying something about, “Make me, ” after he turned around just before he was shot.[114]

         90. Officer Cruz continued to yell repeated commands to Mr. Taylor. “get your hands out now, get your hands out, get your . . . get ‘em out!”[115]

         91. Officer Sylleloglou stated in his interview, “[a]nd then I know I yelled at him too . . . ‘let me see your . . . I think I may have just said, ‘Hands! Hands! Hands!'” When the interviewer asked whether he remembered anything else Officer Cruz said, Officer Sylleloglou responded: “No, I couldn't, you know, I just . . . we were both kinda, I was just listening to him, and then I would say something, I would say ‘hands,' and he would yell ‘hey, hey, get your hands! Get your hands out of your pock' . . . I mean he was yelling at him to get his hands out of there.”[116]

         92. Mr. Taylor did not respond and continued walking away from Officers Cruz and Sylleloglou with his hands remaining inside the front waistband of his pants.[117]

         93. As Mr. Taylor reached the end of the sidewalk and began walking across the parking lot of the 7-Eleven with Officer Cruz telling him to “get your hands out, ” Mr. Taylor turned around to directly face Officer Cruz, and Officer Cruz trained his weapon directly at Mr. Taylor.[118]

         94. Officer Downs heard Officer Cruz give Mr. Taylor the command, “Show me your hands, ” and saw Mr. Taylor continuing to walk backward.[119]

         95. As Mr. Taylor faced Officer Cruz, he continued to walk backwards with both hands inside the loose waistband of his pants, concealing his hands down to his wrists, and moving them in a digging motion.[120]

         96. When asked to describe the action of Mr. Taylor's hands, Officer Cruz remarked about Mr. Taylor's “baggy” pants. The investigator asked, “Baggy?” and Officer Cruz responded:

Like they usually are with people that we deal with when they're concealing things. But, ah, his hands were buried like this in his pants. Buried. . . . And when they're buried way, wrists deep and his sh - you know, he's clawing at something then he's this. This is what I see. This is what I see in his baggy pants. This.
They're not just sitting there. They're just digging, digging and he has this look on his face like, you, “Come and get me. I'm gonna fricken kill you.”[121]

         97. While facing Officer Cruz, and as Officer Cruz continued to shout repeated commands to “get your hands out, ” Mr. Taylor said something which sounded like “what fool” or “nah fool” on Officer Cruz's bodycam video.[122]

         98. Officer Cruz's recollection was that Mr. Taylor said something at that moment along the lines of “come and make me.”[123]

         99. When asked in his deposition how Mr. Taylor responded to his commands, Officer Cruz recounted:

He didn't. He responded by continually showing me that he was manipulating or retrieving something from his pants, from his waistband. That is how he responded. . . . And he - sorry. He also responded with the look of defiance. He also responded verbally.[124]

         100. Suddenly and without warning, while facing Officer Cruz, Mr. Taylor quickly raised his left hand from inside the loose waistband of his pants, lifting his shirt and exposing his lower torso.[125]

         101. Mr. Taylor simultaneously brought his right hand out of his loose waistband of his pants, but lower than his left hand.[126]

         102. At that moment, Mr. Taylor was approximately 10 to 12 feet away from Officer Cruz and 12 to 15 feet away from Officer Sylleloglou.[127]

         103. Officer Downes saw Mr. Taylor lifting up his shirt but could not make anything out.[128]

         104. In Officer Cruz's interview, the investigator asked whether Mr. Taylor had manipulated his shirt. Officer Cruz responded:

I mean yeah, his shirt was you know eh, you know, his shirt was raising with his pants. You know? It was this, this tugging motion. This drawing motion, whatever . . . you know, I'm not sure what to call it.[129]

         105. Believing that Mr. Taylor's movements indicated he was “drawing” or reaching for a gun, and that Mr. Taylor intended to fire on the officers, Officer Cruz acted in self-defense by firing two shots in rapid succession, striking Mr. Taylor in the torso.[130]

         106. According to the medical examiner, two rounds hit Mr. Taylor. one in his “upper central chest” and a second one in the “right upper quadrant of [the] abdomen” which also grazed the third and fourth fingers of his left hand.[131]

         107. When asked by the investigator if Mr. Taylor's hand ever came toward him, Officer Cruz responded, “I could not - no, it didn't because I could not wait that long.”[132]

         108. When the investigator asked Officer Cruz if he thought Mr. Taylor might have had a gun that could have caused harm to him or another, Officer Cruz responded:

I was convinced, 100% there was nothing else he was doing. Nothing else he could have been doing then getting a gun t-t-to try and kill one of us. To try and kill somebody. Nothing else. There was zero; nothing else made sense. Nothing else.[133]

         109. The investigator then asked how that made Officer Cruz feel. Officer Cruz responded:

I was scared to death. The last thought I had go through my mind when I pulled the trigger; and I'll never forget this. Was uh, was that “I was too late. I was too late. And because of that I was gonna get killed. Worse, my officer was gonna get killed” . . . . And that was the shittiest feeling. . . . And I was like, “I'm gonna get us killed.”[134]

         110. Officer Cruz described the events to investigators:

I heard [Officer Sylleloglou], five to seven feet off to my right, I could see him in my peripheral. He was yelling at him too. “Show us your hands. Stop. Show us your hands.” Um, and he turned around. He didn't stop. He never stopped. He turned around. Um, and it was only worse because his hands they were dove in his pants. They were just completely wrist-deep in his pants and he wasn't just warming up his pants, his hands on a cold day. It wasn't even cold.
Um, he wasn't just hiding his hands. He was, he was digging at something. He was manipulating something. I knew there was a gun in those pants. And, ah, at that point I mean, my gun I've had it center-massed, trained on him and I was yelling at him and he was looking directly at me, directly at my eyes. And I looked directly in his eyes. And he looked at me like, “You're not gonna. You're not gonna stop me.” Um, and, “I'm gonna kill you guys.” And I think he said something. I don't remember what he was saying. He was yelling, “You make me.” Or, “you can't make me, ” or some crap. I, I can't remember. But we yelled at him. I yelled at him with every, as loud as I could. “Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands.” And he looked down the barrel of my gun. It just felt like an eternity. Um, and he, he didn't. He kept digging. He kept digging. Digging. Manipulating something in his pants.
And I knew he, he was ju - he'd already made up his mind and he just - I was just giving him time to just kill one of us. I don't know if the gun was caught or it if was falling down? Or I, I don't know. He was taking off the safety? I don't know what he was manipulating, something.
And I knew it was a deadly force situation. No. doubt in my mind, no doubt in my mind. I needed to see his damn hands. I couldn't take the chance of him shooting my officer or shooting me.
And, ah, and after I yelled at him for what felt like an eternity with my gun trained right on him he did nothing but keep digging at that gun in his pants or whatever the hell it was. Without any hesitation. Without any reservation in the world I fired at him. And I would have kept firing until that deadly threat had stopped.[135]

         111. After firing his weapon, Officer Cruz called “shots fired” over the radio and immediately requested medical attention.[136]

         112. Officer Cruz then handcuffed Mr. Taylor, searched his pockets looking for a gun, and rendered first aid.[137]

         113. No. gun was found.[138]

         114. Mr. Taylor died at the scene.[139]

         115. From the time Mr. Taylor turned around and came face-to-face with the officers until he was shot is approximately four seconds.[140]

         116. Minutes after Mr. Taylor was shot, Officer Sylleloglou explained to another officer what had happened:

And uh, what happened was we found these two guys that are in our cars. The dude in the white over here, he kept walking, and then he ignored us. So [Officer Cruz] and I went up to him kind of, kind of cornered him like this. And he starts doing this and he starts backing up like digging into his pock - like this, and then he, and then he's like, “get your hands out of your, get your hands out, get your hands out, get your hands out, ” and then as soon as he made an overt movement ...

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