Steven Taylor, 33

Shot on April 18, 2020 in San Leandro, California

On 9/2/2020, White police officer Jason Fletcher was arrested for voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Steven Taylor, a Black man, on 4/18/2020 in San Leandro, California.

On April 18, a Walmart security guard called the police when Taylor was trying to leave the store without paying for a tent and an aluminum baseball bat. Officer Fletcher arrived alone, and ordered Taylor to drop the bat, then used a stun gun that staggered Taylor. The bat was still in Taylor’s hand, pointing toward the floor, and he was 17 feet away when the officer shot Taylor once in the chest. The shooting was recorded on body cam and cell phone video from multiple angles.

The policeman fired and killed Taylor just 40 seconds after arriving at the Walmart, and before a backup officer arrived. Taylor was pronounced dead on the scene. His later police report of the incident included the observation that Taylor seemed to be having a mental episode, and was not in touch with reality. The officer had been on administrative leave since the shooting.

A new 2020 law in California permits police to use deadly force only when necessary to defend human life. The county district attorney concluded that this was not the case when Officer Fletcher shot Taylor, and was the reason for filing felony charges against the 20-year veteran policeman.

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