A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Salt Lake City by the family of an unarmed Utah man who was fatally shot by a police officer in 2014.
The judge dismissed the case Friday, saying that because the city officer didn’t violate any laws or constitutional rights by shooting and killing Dillon Taylor, the city can’t be held liable for the officer’s conduct.
Taylor’s family filed the lawsuit in October 2015, just more than a year after Taylor, 20, was killed outside a convenience store near 2100 South and State Street. They first alleged wrongful death, denial of family association and excessive force claims, but dropped all but the excessive force claims in August 2017.
The shooting death sparked protests in Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake because Taylor was unarmed when he was killed.
Salt Lake County prosecutors determined the shooting was legally justified because a 911 caller near the store had said Taylor and people he was with were “flashing” a gun. When the officers confronted Taylor, he didn’t immediately respond to Officer Bron Cruz’s orders to stop and show his hands.
Instead, he kept his hands in his pants and tried to walk away. When Taylor did turn around and pull out his hands, Cruz shot him twice. Taylor didn’t have a gun, and was wearing headphones, attached to a phone in his pocket, when he was killed.
“Although it is now clear that Mr. Taylor was not armed,” U.S. District Judge David Nuffer wrote in the ruling, “Officer Cruz’s decision to employ deadly force was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.”
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be filed again.
“Of course we’re disappointed in the ruling, not only for our clients but also for everyone who lives in Salt Lake City,” Taylor family attorney Kelly Fowler told FOX 13. “We respect the court’s decision and careful evaluation, but disagree.”
Fowler told FOX 13 that she may appeal the ruling.
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