Bodycam Video Shows Police Shooting Of Unarmed 19-Year-Old In Fresno
Police in Fresno, Calif., have released video footage of the shooting of an unarmed man last month.
Dylan Noble, a white 19-year-old, was shot and killed by officers at a traffic stop in Fresno on June 25. Police said that they had pulled him over as they were investigating reports of a man walking around with a rifle. They said that Noble had told them he hated his life and reached for his waistband, at which point police shot him.
Witness video published by the Fresno Bee last week showed two shots were fired after Noble was already lying on the ground.
Officers say they believed at the time that Noble was armed. He was only carrying a small plastic container, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The police have now released body camera footage showing the entire traffic stop. The footage shows Noble ignoring several police commands to stand still and keep his hands up. "I f ****** hate my life," he said, with one hand raised and the other behind his back, as he walked toward police.
An officer then shot Noble twice with his handgun. As Noble was lying on the ground, two officers instructed him to keep his hands up. When he moved his arms, the first officer fired again.
"If you reach one more time, you will get shot again. Stop. Dude," a second officer said, before firing a shotgun at Noble.
You can view the full video here, via The Washington Post, with the warning that it contains disturbing content.
Before the release of the bodycam video, Noble's friends told The Fresno Bee that the idea that Noble said he hated his life makes no sense to them.
"The 19-year-old had a new job in construction, was committed to his girlfriend, made friends easily and stuck his neck out for them. He wanted to be a professional DJ, but mostly, he wanted to be a dad," the newspaper reported.
Noble, who was white, was killed more than a week before the police shootings of two black men sparked protests across the country.
His death — and particularly the witness video showing him being shot as he lay on the ground — inspired local vigils, a petition for the release of the bodycam footage and a lawsuit from his family.
The reaction to Noble's death has been controversial. Conservative news outlets and some of Noble's friends have argued that if Noble had been black instead of white the case would have been more widely covered.
Meanwhile, a protest over Noble's death featured a Confederate battle flag and "White Lives Matter" signs, which were criticized as offensive. The Guardian reports that people at that protest say they were misunderstood.
Ezra David Romero, of member station KVPR, reports that Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he "will be looking at every single round that was fired" in the incident. Romero reports:
"Dyer says he's mulling over whether the officers had to use deadly force based on a reasonable fear.
" 'I also believe this video's gonna raise questions in the minds of people just as those questions exist in my mind as well,' " says Dyer.
"The footage comes after cellphone footage was released last week. Dyer says he chose to release the body camera footage before an investigation was complete because of community concern. He says the family saw the video last week.
" 'There has been a great deal of concern in the community and rightfully so,' says Dyer. 'We have an individual that did not have a firearm on his person or in his vehicle. ... That is why I made the decision today to release the video.' "
The incident is being investigated internally as well as by the local district attorney, and federal authorities have also agreed to investigate, The Los Angeles Times reports.
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