Newly released video footage of Dylan Noble's confrontation with Fresno police last month is raising questions as to whether the officers were right to have fatally shot the unarmed 19-year-old.
On June 25, authorities were alerted about a man wearing camouflage, driving a truck, and allegedly carrying a rifle with him. When initially approached by police, Noble reportedly refused to leave his vehicle. He instead pulled into the parking lot of a Chevron gas station, got out, and then started walking away from the officers. When Noble turned around to face the officers, police say, he did not comply with their orders to get on the ground and put one hand behind his back "very quickly."
According to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, it was then that the officers determined that Noble might have been reaching for a gun and shot him four times. In the aftermath, no gun was found on either Noble's person or in his vehicle.
Warning: video depicts graphic images
Last week, a cellphone video of the shooting taken from a distance surfaced online showing two of the four shots that killed Noble.
But camera footage from two of the officers' chest-mounted body cams released by police Wednesday tells a somewhat different story. Toward the end of the nearly five-minute clip, the teenager does, in fact, reach behind himself, and shout that he "hates his life," but his movements do not appear to be anywhere near as quick as the police first reported. He falls to his knees after being shot twice and, as he lay bleeding on the ground, a second officer shoots him two more times with a shotgun.
Warning: video depicts graphic images
Between the police department's admission that Noble was unarmed and the new footage of officers continuing to fire, even after he had fallen to the ground, have renewed questions about whether the police were justified in using deadly force against Noble.
“Were the last two rounds fired by the officers necessary? Based on a reasonable fear, did the officers have to use deadly force? I do not have the answer to that today,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters Wednesday. “That video was extremely disturbing to watch.” Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on leave.
The graphic videos of Noble's death surfaced just days after similar footage of police shooting and killing Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men, sparked outrage across the country. While protests for Castile and Sterling's deaths have sprung up and prompted renewed calls for police reform, the response to Noble's death was much more localized to the Fresno area.
On June 27, mourners and protestors riding motorcycles gathered on the road in front of the Chevron where Noble was shot and disrupted traffic while marching, carrying Confederate flags, and chanting “white lives matter.”
As The Washington Post points out, some people online expressed their dissatisfaction with the relative lack of media coverage that Noble's death received compared to Castile and Sterling's.
Many aligned with Black Lives Matter on Twitter were quick to explain that while Black Lives Matter's focus in the last week had been aimed at seeking justice for Sterling and Castile, Noble's death was reflective of the overall need for increased accountability for police.
— Eobard Thawne (@FrankenFert) July 7, 2016
Earlier this week, Noble's mother, Veronica Nelson, filed a legal claim against the city of Fresno, stating that the police killing her son caused her substantial emotional distress.
"The officers never had an objectively reasonable basis to shoot Dylan Noble,” the complaint reads. “At no time did they use or attempt to use their K-9. At no time did they use or attempt to use a TASER.”
Darren Noble, Dylan's father, in comments to The Guardian, called Fresno police "trigger happy," but emphasized that right now, the best course of action was to push for a continued investigation of the shooting.
“I don’t want no riot. I don’t want anybody else hurt. Nothing they do can bring my kid back, but I want those cops to pay," Noble said. "I won’t be satisfied until they go up on murder charges. They should be held [responsible] like anybody else who killed an innocent kid.”