'Is it because we're Black?' Family of man killed by police in San Leandro Walmart demands answers, action

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Saturday, June 27, 2020
'Is it because we're Black?' Family of man killed by police in San Leandro Walmart demand answers, action
The family of Steven Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in a San Leandro Walmart on April 18, says they still haven't heard from the police department and feel they're being left in the dark.

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- Outside San Leandro Police headquarters on Friday, a crowd of dozens chanted, "Steven Taylor! Steven Taylor!"

His family is fighting to keep him on the minds of San Leandro city leaders and law enforcement.

RELATED: Family of San Leandro man killed by officer inside Walmart demands justice

Taylor was shot and killed by a San Leandro police officer on April 18. Body-cam footage released by the department shows Taylor holding a bat, inside of a local Walmart.

Early reports said San Leandro police were initially dispatched to the store after getting a report of a robbery. Officers found no signs of theft taking place when they arrived on the scene. Instead, officers reported encountering Taylor, swinging a baseball bat near the entrance inside the store.

The video also shows the moment an officer fired at the 33-year-old.

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More than two months after the incident, his mother and grandmother are demanding action and answers. His family claims they've been left in the dark.

"I am sad. My heart hurts that we have to go through this two months down the road- Two months," Taylor's mother, Sharon Taylor told reporters. "We still haven't gotten his belongings, we still haven't gotten a call from the department."

So, they took their demands to police headquarters and called a press conference on Friday afternoon.

"They claim my son had mental illness, and maybe that might be true," Sharon explained. "But the way that our police should be reformed is to help people with illnesses."

Family members maintained Taylor was not a danger. They want the officer who shot him to be held accountable.

RELATED: Family of man killed by Vallejo police wants body camera video released

"They committed a crime. They murdered my grandson," Addie Kitchen said. "If you murdered somebody, you'd be in jail. You wouldn't be walking around, going home to your family."

According to SLPD, the officer who shot Taylor is still on administrative leave. The second responding officer is back to full duty. Their names have not yet been released.

"Our issue has been, the officers have received some threats. Some death threats against them and their families," SLPD Lt. Ted Henderson told ABC7 News. "And we just want to make sure that those threats are frivolous in nature and don't pose any credibility, before the names are released."

ABC7 News asked Lt. Henderson about the family's claim the department has not reached out.

"We reached out to the family very early in this investigation, and they didn't take our phone calls. So at my direction, I told my detectives to stop making those phone calls because I didn't want it to appear that we were harassing them at all," Lt. Henderson explained. "And they would reach out to us when they were ready to."

Kitchen told reporters on Friday, "The night it happened, I called Lt. Henderson five times. I left messages on his machine, and as of today, I still have not heard from him or the captain."

"We have truly not heard from the San Leandro Police. We've not heard from the chief, and we've only heard from the mayor one time," Kitchen continued. "So as of yet, we don't know what's going on."

RELATED: Group demands justice for Erik Salgado, man fatally shot by CHP in Oakland

Another speaker asked, "Is it because we're Black?"

"We really want the City of San Leandro to know that we're not only fighting for my grandson, but we're fighting for all the Steven's, all the homeless, all the people that have mental issues," Kitchen said. "That should not be a reason to be murdered by the police department, whether it's in San Leandro, Oakland, it doesn't matter."

Lt. Henderson said the department has sent their report to the DA's office for review. However, they're still waiting on the coroner's report to be completed. He said there is no timetable as to when that will be done.

Additionally, he added, "In our effort to be transparent, and to make sure that we've done our due diligence in this investigation, to make sure that we've investigated in a fair manner, the city of San Leandro reached out to the Attorney General's office to ask if they could come in and review the incident."

Taylor's family confirmed they've retained a lawyer.