FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Despite demands that he “Show both hands!” and shouts that “You’re going to get shot man!” a 19-year-old in California refused to pull one hand from behind his back and to stop walking toward police. Officers then shot him four times, twice after he had already gone down from the first two bullets, according to dramatic and graphic body-camera video newly released by police.
“Get on the ground now!” officers continually shout at Dylan Noble in the video released Wednesday. One yells: “Drop whatever you have in your hand!”
It turned out Noble was unarmed and had only a small, empty plastic container with an unknown purpose in his hand, police Chief Jerry Dyer said, but officers, who had been looking for a man with a gun when they pulled him over, had no way of knowing that with his refusal to cooperate.
One officer shot him twice as Noble yelled that he hates his life. He was still moving his arms, and officers were still shouting for him to stop, as he lay on the ground. Another shot from the same officer and a fourth from a second officer finally made him stop.
At a news conference, Dyer acknowledged the video is gruesome, but he said it was important for the public to see. He said he prays it won’t spark violence amid simmering anti-police sentiment in Fresno and elsewhere.
“Tensions are high,” Dyer said. “In some cases we are one spark away from a forest fire. And I pray this video doesn’t serve as that spark … This is not a time to become violent.”
Dyer said he intended to make the video public last Friday, but he held off because of the shooting deaths of police in Dallas the night before. The video was shown last week to Noble’s father and stepfather.
The death of Noble, who was white, came more than a week before police killed two black men in shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota last week that sparked protests around the country.
The video shows Noble first draw officers’ attention when he screeched his truck’s tires in their search for an armed man.
Noble pulls into a gas station, and officers order him to put both hands out of the window. Noble puts his left hand out the window, concealing his right hand, and officers shout “both your hands!”
Noble gets out of the truck and walks away from officers, at first putting both hands in the air. He turns around and walks toward officers, raising his left hand but putting his right hand behind his back.
He continues to walk toward officers with his right hand concealed and his left hand in the air when the shots began coming.
His mother, who declined to watch the videos, is seeking damages from the city for her son’s death.
Stuart Chandler, the attorney for Noble’s mother, Veronica Nelson, put out a statement saying that he urged the police chief to release the video Wednesday. “We are pleased to discover from the media that Chief Dyer is belatedly providing the body camera footage to the general public,” Chandler said.
Noble’s mother and attorney said in a claim filed with the city that the officers used excessive force, and they called the death inexcusable. The claim does not say how much Nelson seeks from the city.
Dyer, who has asked the FBI do its own investigation into the shooting, said he has yet to conclude if officers used excessive force.