Texas teen killed by police had psychedelic drugs in system: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 02, 2015 6:53 PM

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) - The unarmed black Texas teenager fatally shot by a white police officer in August at a Dallas-area car dealership had synthetic psychedelic drugs and marijuana in his system when he died, according to an autopsy report released on Wednesday.

Christian Taylor, a 19-year-old college football player at Angelo State University, was shot by Arlington police trainee Brad Miller, who was one of several officers responding to a vandalism call at a car dealership west of Dallas.

According to the report, Taylor tested positive for the synthetic drug NBOMe, also known by its street name 25i, which is "known to cause distorted perceptions, agitation and hallucinations."

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office noted that the drug has been "associated with random and bizarre behavior in users."

It also found Taylor died of gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen. Taylor did not have alcohol or amphetamines in his system and showed no signs of being assaulted.

Miller was fired by the Arlington police department for what it said was a series of troubling decisions that ultimately led to Taylor's death.

There were five other officers on scene, including the training officer for Miller, Corporal Dale Wiggins, who tried to use a Taser to subdue the suspect while Miller used his gun, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said in August.

Miller's lawyer said the police chief terminated his client to prevent backlash over the killing and Miller's actions saved the lives of other officers at the scene.

Investigators are preparing a criminal case in the matter for prosecutors to present to a grand jury, which can decide whether to charge Miller.

The shooting came amid questions about racial bias in U.S. policing stemming from incidents that sparked protests nationwide, including the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, a year ago.

(Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Eric Walsh)