FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The mother of an unarmed 19-year-old man shot and killed by Fresno police in a traffic stop said Tuesday that she is seeking financial damages from the city for her son's death.
Officers used excessive force June 25, when they opened fire and killed Dylan Noble, an attorney for Veronica Nelson said in a claim filed with the city of Fresno. Police stopped Noble in his pickup soon after getting a report of a man walking along a street with a rifle or shotgun.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said officers believed Noble was reaching into his waistband for a gun and about to shoot them, but they later learned he was unarmed. Dyer said the FBI has agreed to review the shooting.
A cellphone video taken by a bystander captures part of the ordeal showing him lying on his back on the ground and telling officers that he had been shot. It shows officers shouting at him: "Get your hands up."
Officers fired at Noble a total of four times, according to the claim. It is the first step to filing a lawsuit and comes days after police showed Noble's family video from officers' body cameras.
"The city of Fresno must be held fully accountable to his family — and for that matter, to the community," said the mother's attorney, Stuart Chandler, calling the shooting death "inexcusable."
The claim does not say how much Nelson seeks from the city.
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. Tensions escalated Thursday night when a gunman killed five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally.
The Fresno police chief said he plans to make the body camera video public at the end of the investigation, although it is unclear how long that will take.
Dyer declined to comment on the claim Tuesday, said Lt. Joe Gomez, a police spokesman. The Fresno city attorney's office also declined to comment.
The claim says that officers received a report of an armed man on foot wearing a camouflage jacket. Officers pulled over Noble a short distance away in the parking lot of a gas station.
When Noble got out of his truck, he walked away from officers with both hands held up, the claim for damages says. Next, he turned and walked toward officers, drawing two shots in rapid succession from one officer's pistol, the claim says.
Noble collapsed and rolled onto his back, says the claim, and after another 30 seconds the same officer fires again. After several more seconds another officer fires the final round from a shotgun, the claim says.
Officers never tried to use other means of subduing him, such as a canine or stun gun, says the claim, adding that his clothing didn't fit the description from the earlier call, and he was in a truck, not on foot.
"The officers never had an objectively reasonable basis to shoot," the claim says. "At no time did they use or attempt to use anything but deadly force."