SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle-King County NAACP leaders are condemning the fatal shooting of a black man by Seattle police and say they've hired a law firm to investigate.
NAACP President Gerald Hankerson on Tuesday disputed the police account of the shooting, saying 46-year-old Che Taylor was trying to comply with police orders when he was shot.
Police say Taylor was a violent felon legally prohibited from possessing a handgun. Officers were conducting surveillance Sunday afternoon in north Seattle when they saw a man with a holstered handgun and determined it was Taylor.
When an officer approached his vehicle to take Taylor into custody, authorities say he did not obey commands to show his hands and get on the ground.
Instead, officers and a witness say he reached for his gun and officers fired on him.
Seattle police said two officers were investigating a suspicious car Sunday night in the 2200 block of NE 85th Street when they encountered the man who was "clearly armed" and refused their commands. Police say he was reaching for a handgun while on the passenger side of his car when they opened fire.
Police identified him as Che Taylor. Police say he is a violent felon whose criminal history includes convictions for assault, robbery and rape.
On Monday night, family and friends of Taylor held a vigil for Taylor.
Taylor’s family said Che had made mistakes in the past but he was trying to get back into society after he was released from prison almost two years ago.
“We all have our challenges and he had his. You know he paid his debt to society and came home and he tried to get back to society the best way he could,” added Andre’ Taylor.
Speaking of the police in the video, Andre' said, "I believe there was an intent there -- they had tactical gear on, they had assault rifles and they came, I believe, to kill him. For whatever reason, they felt he didn't deserve to be here anymore."
Warning: Disturbing video:
Detectives say Taylor stood at the passenger door of a white Ford Taurus as a marked patrol car pulled up. Officers can be seen approaching the car asking Taylor to show his hands and get on the ground.
Officers and a witness say Taylor reached for his handgun before officers fired.
“Clearly the officers were in a very dangerous situation, they took the action they thought was appropriate at the time and we’ll let the investigation take its course,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
Detectives said they recovered Taylor's handgun. They said he was also in possession of what appeared to be cocaine and black tar heroin.
The Seattle Police Department identified the two officers involved in the shooting of Che Taylor as Michael Spaulding and Scott Miller, both hired in 2008.