In 2016, Seattle police were conducting an undercover observation of a suspect in the Wedgwood neighborhood when Che Taylor arrived in a car driven by another man. The plainclothes officers, Michael Spaulding and Scott Miller, said that they recognized Taylor, 47, as a known felon from previous convictions for violent crime, and that they saw a handgun on his hip in a belt-mounted holster. As a felon, Taylor would have been barred from having any gun.

Events unfolded which resulted in the two officers shooting and killing Taylor, who himself fired no shots. Between the time they allege they say him with a gun and the confrontation, half an hour had elapsed. When they found him again, Spaulding and Miller simultaneously ordered him to show his hands and to get on the ground. When he didn’t obey both at once, both officers fired killing him. They alleged that they had seen him reach for the gun at his hip, but subsequent investigation found no handgun on his person or by his body, only one under some trash beneath the seat of the car he’d been riding in, which was not his. A holster was logged into evidence, and the scene detective’s report “seems to suggest” that the holster was found attached to Taylor’s right hip, but photos and evidence logging prove that it was found lying several yards away.

Back in 2016, the Seattle Police Department investigated themselves and found themselves not at fault in Taylor’s death. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg declined to file charges against either officer, saying the shooting fell within departmental policy. But subsequent inquests have not agreed with this stance, mostly due to the long delay in time between any visual confirmation of a gun and the shooting.

Under judicial guidance, the city of Seattle has reached a settlement with the family of Taylor in the first week of December, over four years after the shooting. Without admitting fault, the city will pay $500,000 each to Taylor’s mother, son, and young daughter.

Source: Seattle Times

Editorial credit: VDB Photos /