A college football player recently shot dead by Texas police had drugs in his system, according to a toxicology report.
The report, performed by the Tarrant County medical examiner, showed Christian Taylor had THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and traces of 25iNOBMe in his blood. 25iNOBMe is a potent synthetic hallucinogenic drug also known as N-Bomb, Smiles and Wizard.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said the drug commonly known as “N-Bomb” can cause agitation, aggression and visual and auditory hallucinations. The presence of drugs in his system might explain Taylor’s bizarre behavior. Security cameras captured him stomping on the windshield of a Ford Mustang at an Arlington car dealership. He also used his car to ram through a gate.
Police responded to the disturbance and fatally shot Taylor. One officer fired a Taser, which had no effect. The other officer, Brad Miller, fired four shots which killed Taylor. Miller claimed he felt threatened as Taylor advanced toward him while cursing. However, the Arlington Police Department felt Miller, a trainee officer, showed poor judgement during the encounter and terminated his employment.
“[Miller’s] unilateral decision to enter the building and to continue the pursuit deeper into the building upon making contact with Mr. Taylor — along with failing to communicate with fellow officers or develop an arrest plan — created an environment of cascading consequences that produced an unrecoverable outcome,” said Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson.
Taylor’s death was ruled a homicide. The Dallas Morning News said police expect to present the case to a grand jury. The Taylor family and Officer Miller have both hired lawyers to represent them. They both had different takes on the outcome of the autopsy.
Mike Heiskell, an attorney representing the Taylor family, told WFAA-TV the shooting was still unnecessary.
“Regardless of what may have been in his system, this was still an unjustified death of a young man,” Heiskell said.
However, John Snider, the attorney representing Miller, called the autopsy “very significant evidence.”
“In light of this crucial development we hope that Chief Johnson will reconsider his rush to judgment,” he said in an emailed statement.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Snider said Johnson only fired Miller to “appease anti-police activists.” Although the autopsy report showed Taylor had drugs in his system and he had been previously arrested for drug possession, his high school and college friends said they rarely saw him using illegal substances.
“In front of my face, I’ve never seen him do drugs,” said Sam Armardi in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “Marijuana is probably the only thing anybody did in high school.”
Armardi added that Taylor had recently undergone a religious conversion, which made him intolerant of social vices.
“He was saying: ‘You shouldn’t be smoking. You shouldn’t be doing this. You shouldn’t be doing that. God is good. God is great,’” Armardi said.
However, Armadi said he had heard rumors of Taylor doing LSD. Some of his friends said Taylor may have been struggling with the demands of being a student athlete at Angelo State University and dealing with depression.
“He told me he was a little depressed,” said Jordan McHenry. “We were just wondering if he needed help.”
The Christian Taylor case again shows how youthful errors can be fatal for Black people. Sandra Bland talked back to a police officer. Christian Taylor experimented with drugs and may have been self- medicating to deal with his depression. Those mistakes shouldn’t have led to their deaths.