SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — “It was disgusting,” Cynthia Pratt said of the April 18 cop slaying of Steven Taylor inside the Hesperian Blvd. Walmart here. She was talking to Joel Britton, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in the 13th District, outside the store days after the killing.
A widely viewed video shows cops shooting Taylor, who is Black, with both live ammunition and a Taser, including at least once while he was lying motionless, bleeding profusely, on the floor of the store. When cops confronted him he was holding a baseball bat. His family says the 33-year-old father of three children was going through a mental health crisis.
One witness can be heard on the video telling the cops, “Don’t shoot him no more.” The Alameda County coroner’s office said the preliminary cause of death was a gunshot wound to Taylor’s chest.
“It’s time to force accountability. Young Black men have targets on their backs,” Pratt told Britton. She described her own experience of cop harassment when she lived at Menlo Park and her fears that her three sons could be brutalized or worse at the hands of the police.
Britton and campaign supporters were talking with people in the Walmart parking lot April 21 near the memorial site the family has set up for Taylor. Campaigners distributed Britton’s statement demanding the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the cops “for their cold-blooded killing” of Taylor. It says he and other Walmart workers look forward to joining protests against the killing.
Pratt expressed her appreciation for Britton’s stand and said she would like to help organize a protest at the police department.
In a statement, Lee Merritt, the Taylor family lawyer, said the cops “intentional and repeated application of force despite the absence of a threat captured in these recordings is sufficient evidence for authorities to issue a warrant for the shooting officers.”