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Victim’s family speaks after DA rules shooting justified

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Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 09:22:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- For the first time the family of Dillon Taylor watched the body camera video of the 20-year-old’s shooting death at the hands of the Salt Lake City Police Department outside a South Salt Lake 7-11 on August 11.

The viewing happened hours after District Attorney Sim Gill determined the shooting was legally justified.

“I don’t think it’s justified and I’m not going to think it’s justified,” said Taylor’s aunt, Gina Thayne. “Every time I see a 7-11 or someone in uniform I automatically tense up, I automatically get scared.”

Thayne watched the video with family members and their attorney inside Fox 13 Studios Tuesday afternoon. The family wouldn’t be given their own copy of the video by the District Attorney’s Office until they filled out a proper request.

The video begins with Officer Bron Cruz getting out of the police vehicle at the scene, located at 2100 South and State Street.

“When the responding officers made contact, two of the male suspects immediately applied with the officer's command to stop and show their hands,” said District Attorney Sim Gill. “One male, Dillon Taylor, did not stop or show his hands.”

“It did escalate pretty quickly, got right out of the car, had their guns, went right after him, right off the bat, he was walking away and they had their guns out,” said Cody Taylor, Dillon Taylor's brother. “My first initial thoughts are there were multiple opportunities in that video that he could have been taken out with a Taser, walking away from him, had his hands visible.”

According to Gill, after initially walking away, Taylor then turned and faced police.

“As a command was given to stop and show his hands he responded and said, ‘no fool,’ and in a quick succession of hands, lifted his shirt up and moved his hand from the waist band in a grind motion at which time officer cruise fired two shots,” Gill said.

Gill said the officers were concerned Taylor was reaching for a gun. The family says the video they saw told a different story.

“Dillon pulling his shirt up, he was showing him he doesn’t have a weapon, that was my first impulse, he’s showing you he doesn’t have a weapon,” Thayne said.

Taylor died at the scene. No gun was found on his body.

“If they can just take lives and have no repercussions without seeing a weapon something’s wrong,” Cody said.