Steven Taylor case: Independent investigators determine San Leandro officer used excessive force

Bay Area

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KRON) — Independent investigators looking into the police killing of a man in a San Leandro Walmart have made a determination for one of the officers.

According to the report released by the City of San Leandro, Officer Stefan Overton’s use of his Taser against Steven Taylor in April 2020 “was not in compliance with department policies regarding taser deployment and the use of force.”

A second officer, Jason Fletcher, had fired both his Taser and handgun at Taylor.

In videos of the shooting shared on social media, 33-year-old Taylor is seen wielding a baseball bat before being shot and killed by Fletcher.

Fletcher was charged with voluntary manslaughter back in September. He is no longer with the police department.

“Had a different approach been taken, the use of deadly force might have been avoided altogether,” the independent investigators said.

The San Leandro Police Department has until June 18 to decide whether to discipline Overton, the city said.

Prosecutors previously said Taylor did not pose an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death to Fletcher or anyone else, while officers with the San Leandro Police Officers’ Association have said the charges are legally deficient and politically motivated.

 “As Mayor, I feel I can speak for the City Council and many in San Leandro who often reflect on the events of April 18, 2020, and the painful loss of Mr. Steven Taylor,” stated Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter. “The City was determined to find answers and we value the independent investigation of the OIR Group and thank them for their work.  This is not the end of the process.  There are still criminal, civil, and administrative actions to take in this matter which limits how much we can elaborate on the content of this report. But, I want to make it clear to the residents of San Leandro, that we will learn from this tragic event and make any needed changes to our training, outreach, and culture to ensure something like this never happens again.” 

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