Following an increased spotlight on police shootings of unarmed citizens, the Fresno Police Department has released body camera footage showing the death of 19-year-old Dylan Noble. Noble was not armed during a routine traffic stop, but two unidentified officers appeared to believe he was carrying a weapon. The LA Times reports how Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer confirmed the officers’ belief at a news conference while “calling for calm.” The disturbing footage shows officers shooting Noble twice. After he dropped to the ground, they shot him two more times.
This video’s release arrives after two high-profile shootings by police killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. These tragedies spawned nationwide anti-brutality protests of unarmed black people. Later footage of Sterling showed that he was not holding a gun while police pinned him down. And Castile was shot when he reached for his wallet after informing officers how he was licensed to carry (and a gun was in the car).
In the footage, Noble exits his vehicle and does not obey police commands. He seems to reach behind his back, and officers tell him he will be shot if he doesn’t stop walking, drop what he’s holding, and get on the ground: “If you come forward, you’re gonna get shot, man.” Noble continues to walk forward and can be heard uttering, “I f*cking hate my life.” At that point, an officer shoots him twice. Once he’s on the ground, he continues to move his arms despite being warned otherwise, and two more shots (one by each officer) are fired.
Chief Dyer reveals that internal affairs has taken over an investigation into the third and fourth shots. Meanwhile, The Guardian notes that the Fresno PD declined to refuse the footage to the paper. Hours later, it released the tape to the public. Nobles’ family has already filed a wrongful death suit (which alleges “an inexcusable use of excessive force”) against the City of Fresno for the June 25 incident. His father tells The Guardian how “They just wanted to shoot him. They’re just trigger-happy.”
You can see the graphic video footage (from two angles) here.