There are police shootings, and then there are police shootings. The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who seem to show up at such shootings before the lawyers or the rescue squads, apparently haven’t heard about the shooting of Dillon Taylor, 20, in Salt Lake City. They’re still among the missing.
Mr. Taylor’s family and a few friends continue protests outside state and federal government offices, seeking answers to their questions about the why and how of the shooting of Mr. Taylor, who was white and unarmed, outside a convenience store by a police officer, still unidentified, and described only as “not white.”
Television news crews have yet to decamp to provide around-the-clock news coverage, even though the Taylor shooting has a lot in common with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
The Ferguson shooting still gets a lot of attention. The Justice Department announced Thursday that it would conduct a broad civil rights investigation of the Ferguson police department. The probe, to be conducted by the department’s Civil Rights Division, will follow a process similar to the investigation of complaints of racial profiling and the use of excessive force by police in many places across the country.
The new Missouri inquiry follows the Justice Department investigation into whether Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who fired the fatal shots, violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights. Separately, a St. Louis County grand jury is collecting evidence that could lead to charges against Officer Wilson.
Pressure was applied to require the Ferguson Police Department to publicly identify the officer, despite the obvious risks to Officer Wilson and his family. Mobs rioted in the streets of Ferguson for days after the shooting.
The Salt Lake City police officer who killed young Mr. Taylor remains anonymous nearly a month after the fatal encounter. The decision of the Salt Lake City police to avoid dressing like the soldiers at Omaha Beach may have a lot to do with that. “If we show up wearing riot gear, it says ‘throw rocks and boulders at us,’” Police Chief Chris Burbank tells television interviewers.
It should easy to determine whether the Taylor shooting was justified, because the incident was recorded. “The officer involved in this circumstance had a camera on his body, and the entire incident has been captured,” Chief Burbank said of the video, which has not been made public. He declined to say whether he thought the shooting was justified, based on what he saw on the video, citing pending investigations. Salt Lake City prosecutors said they would complete the inquiry in two weeks.
If the federal government must butt into matters better handled by local and state authorities, it should try to be impartial. So far as the public knows, there’s as much evidence of civil rights violations in Salt Lake City as in Ferguson. Lady Justice is blind by choice. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. should avoid lifting her blindfold to give her a one-eyed peek.