Warning: Viewers might find the contents of this video disturbing.
Amid heightened tensions between civilians and police (and an excessive force lawsuit), the Fresno Police Department, on Wednesday, released the body-camera video of officers fatally shooting an unarmed 19-year-old white man named Dylan Noble on June 25.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer admitted the footage is “extremely disturbing,” but he released to clarify the circumstances surrounding the shooting that generated fierce debate about police brutality toward white people. Some used Noble's death to protest that "white lives matter" while others said it demonstrates police violence against people isn't confined to any particular race.
“Tensions are high,” said Dyer. “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.”
The cops stopped Noble’s black pick up truck near a Chevron gas station while reportedly responding to a report of a man armed with rifle. The video above shows an officer brandish his gun on the steering wheel before driving into the gas station. An officer is then heard yelling: “Turn off the truck. Get your hands out the window. Both hands out the window.” He later screams, “Let me see both your hands…. Get both your hands out.”
Noble exited the truck and officers commanded him to show his hands, lift his hands or lay on the ground, according to Dyer. The teenager did not comply. The police claim he reached his right hand behind his back and appeared to carry an object that officers believed could be a weapon.
Noble can also be heard saying that he hates his life before an officer shot him, twice. Once the victim fell to the ground, he is seen moving his hand under his waistband, which led the officer firing a third round at him. A few seconds later, another officer fired the fourth and final shot.
As it turns out, Noble was actually holding a 4-inch plastic container with malleable clay.
“They just wanted to shoot him,” said father Darren Noble after watching the footage. “They’re just trigger-happy.”
While the footage heightens the debate over body-worn cameras and if their recordings should be made public — a move that law enforcement agencies strongly oppose — it also opens the discussion about how mentally ill and depressed people are treated by the police.
Noble’s mother is currently seeking damages from the city over her son’s death.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton