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Attorney: Seattle police ‘likely’ missed critical steps before fatal shooting

"Just reviewing the video and nothing more, there's likely some protocol steps that we're missing..." attorney James Bible told KIRO Radio's Dave Ross. (Seattle Police Department)

Seattle police may have missed some important steps when handling a felon they say was armed, according to an attorney for the family of late Che Taylor and the Seattle-King County NAACP.

Based on the video released by the Seattle Police Department earlier this week, attorney James Bible believes Taylor, 46, wasn’t given proper instruction while being apprehended.
The NAACP has called the encounter between police and Taylor an “execution.”

“Just reviewing the video and nothing more, there’s likely some protocol steps that we’re missing…” Bible told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

Related: Here’s a way to gauge whether Seattle police are being proactive

Those steps and protocol include asking the suspect to back away slowly from the vehicle he was next to when he was shot.

“As an attorney who has handled well over 1,000 cases … I have seen officers ask people to step away from a car and get down on their knees in a controlled fashion,” Bibles explained. “In this case, it didn’t happen and I think it was a mistake.”

Police say they shot Taylor when he reached for a gun. They also say they discovered six ounces of crack cocaine and black tar heroin on him.

Another person in the vehicle that police say was associated with Taylor was arrested for drug possession.

Bible says the car Taylor was next to was not his.

“My biggest concern, at this stage &#8211 based on the limited evidence we have &#8211 is the requests by the officers seems to have created their own conundrum in terms of fear,” Bible told Dave.

In addition to how police verbally handled the situation, Bible says Taylor’s position to the vehicle may have given officers some concern.

“If he’s as tall as he is and he’s standing next to the car and facing an open door, and you tell him to get down while putting his hands up, it’s going to appear &#8211 may appear &#8211 a particular way that would cause other officers some concern,” Bible said.

Dave wonders if the shooting has set back the police department and the reform effort.

“I don’t know if we’re at square one,” Bible responded. “I don’t know if we were ever at square two, three, or four.”

What happened to Taylor could happen to anyone, Bible said. It’s just another example.

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