In June, Dylan Noble died after police shot him four times, twice as he approached officers, twice while he was on the ground, still moving. Noble’s family thinks Fresno police didn’t need to use deadly force. According to CNN, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said there are questions that body camera recordings, released Wednesday, answer and some they don’t.
Was deadly force, specifically the final two shots — taken by two different officers — necessary? Dyer told reporters in the central California city of 520,000 people “I do not have the answer for that today.”
An internal affairs investigation will look into whether police procedures were followed and whether there were other options the officers failed to use. A review by the district attorney will determine whether the two Fresno police officers should be criminally charged. CNN reports, Stuart Chandler an attorney for Veronica Noble, Dylan’s mother says “We’re shocked and appalled that the city of Fresno would continue to defend the actions of its officers. Clearly the only appropriate response is to accept responsibility and commit to changing practices of the police department.”
According to the chief, police originally responded to the area June 25 after receiving a report of a man carrying a rifle while walking down the street. The two officers were riding together. One was a reserve officer. The officers were stopped at a red light when a black pickup truck made a right turn onto the road in front of them and with screeching tires, appeared to speed away.
The officers followed and after catching up to the truck, attempted to pull the vehicle over. However the pickup driver kept going for another half mile. CNN reports, that officer Dyer began to suspect the driver was the man with a rifle call. Dyer drew his handgun as he followed the pickup, just as it turned into a gas station and parked.
Both officers came out of the car with weapons drawn and the video shows Noble putting his left hand out the window in reply. Then an officer yells at him to put both arms out. The chief said during the next one minute, 17 seconds, Noble is in the vehicle but doesn’t fully comply with officers’ commands. Officers get closer to the truck.
At one point in the video, Noble climbs out of the pickup and an officer yells that he didn’t tell Noble to get out of the vehicle. Noble gets back in the truck, leaving the door open. The officers move back to their car in which one of the officers asks repeatedly for the driver to “Let me see your hands.”
Once again, Noble gets out of the truck again and walks away from the officers, who tell him to get on the ground. He walks several more steps then turns around. Dyer pointed out that at this point Noble has his right hand behind his back. Noble continues toward the officers then backs up.
An officer yells for him to get down but instead of complying he walks back toward the officers. “What do you have in your hand?” one asks and then he warns Noble he’s going to get shot. As Noble walks toward the officers, he hears another command to get on the ground, in which Noble says, “I (expletive) hate my life.”
The officer with a handgun, a veteran of 20 years, fires the first two shots and as a result Noble goes down, rolling onto his back. Dyer claims when he reaches for his waistband the officer fires again. Noble squirms while he is told to not to move his hands and 14 seconds later, the reserve officer, who has 17 years of service, fires once.
However Noble didn’t have a gun; he had what Dyer described as a piece of clear plastic, 4 inches by 4 inches, that contained moldable clay. Dyer says authorities still can’t identify the content in his hand. The chief viewed the video on Friday with Dylan Noble’s father, stepfather and attorneys for the parents.
Warren Paboojian, the lawyer for Darren Noble said “the father is extremely disappointed at the way the police handled this shooting and he’s relying on outside agencies for providing him with answers and justice.” Paboojian said Dylan Noble would be alive if Fresno police had treated it like a normal traffic stop.
He continued “You don’t point (a weapon) at an individual for a traffic stop.”According to Chandler, the parents each plan to file a lawsuit against the city, but the actions likely will be combined into one trial.
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