Texas officer who killed teen hired by police on 3rd try

AP News
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 9:23 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A white police officer fired after he fatally shot a black college football player had applied twice to the Arlington Police Department before being hired on his third try, according to personnel records released by the department on Friday.

Brad Miller applied to the department in 2011 but wasn't hired before his application expired a year later. He applied again but failed his medical examination and was told not to reapply for six months. Miller followed a fitness regime, applied exactly six months later and was accepted as a 48-year-old recruit.

Police Chief Will Johnson fired Miller four days after Miller confronted 19-year-old Christian Taylor alone inside a car showroom on Aug. 7. Miller fatally shot the unarmed Angelo State football player, who disobeyed Miller's instructions and advanced toward him.

Miller had a series of marketing jobs in the technology sector until layoffs convinced him that he needed a career change and he decided to train to be a hair stylist in 2005. However, in an essay he wrote for his application, Miller wrote that it became "evident that, as fun as cosmetology is, the gap between dedication and talent is just a bit too wide to make it a financially viable career for me."

Working two jobs, as a hair stylist and as a bagger at a fast-food restaurant, he applied to the Arlington Police Department at the suggestion of one of its officers. In a preliminary interview, Miller understood that he was an advanced age to want to start a law enforcement career, but that his years and work experiences lent him a maturity that would be an asset.

In a background interview, a person Miller used as a reference said the most stressful situation Miller was seen in was his two failed tries at becoming a police officer before succeeding on the third.

Once his application was accepted, Miller scored well in the applicant-screening interview and passed the physical agility and skills tests. A police officer with whom Miller worked out at a fitness center told an investigator doing a background check that Miller "would be a leader to the younger recruits in the academy."

Early on Aug. 7, Miller and his supervising officer responded to the call of a suspected burglary at a car dealership. Johnson later said that while officers were establishing a perimeter around the dealership showroom, Miller pursued Taylor through the broken glass doors of the dealership showroom without telling his supervising officer.

Miller confronted Taylor and ordered him to get down on the ground, Johnson said. Taylor did not comply. Instead, he began "actively advancing toward Officer Miller," Johnson said.

Johnson said Miller's field training officer, who had followed him, drew his Taser. The training officer heard a pop of what he thought was Miller's Taser, but Miller had fired his service weapon at Taylor, who is believed to have been 7 to 10 feet away from the officer, Johnson said. When Taylor kept approaching, Miller fired his gun three more times, killing Taylor.

Internal and criminal investigations are still underway, police Sgt. Paul Rodriguez said Friday.