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dylan noble
Courtesy of Dylan Noble's family

Another unarmed teen has been shot by US police

Graphic footage of 19-year-old Dylan Noble’s death was leaked online yesterday

A graphic video of police officers shooting an unarmed teen in California has been released to the public.

Dylan Noble, a 19-year-old from Fresno, California was killed by officers on June 25. Police said they believed he had a weapon. Footage from a body-camera showed the teen walking towards the police at a traffic stop – he was shot four times, two of those times while on his back, unmoving.

The Fresno police department related that officers pulled him over while searching for a man carrying a rifle after local reports. Authorities have claimed the officers at the scene thought he had a gun, although later searches proved that he had no weapons on his person, or in his truck. Officers initially refused to release the tape to the public until the investigation had been completed. It was shown to Noble’s family last week however.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the decision to release them was based on public scrutiny after recent police shootings, as well as a spate of protests relating to Noble’s death. “I am calling for calm in our community,” he said.

“They just wanted to shoot him,” said Darren Noble, Dylan’s father, after watching the footage reports the Guardian. “They’re just trigger-happy.”

Dylan Noble’s family have launched a legal suit against the city, alleging that it was “an excusable use of excessive force”.

Another video from a witness at the scene also came out online last week. Footage from the body-camera showed police officers approaching Noble, shouting “let me see your hands”, while raising their guns to him.

Noble then exited his truck, walked towards police with his right arm behind his back briefly. One officer shouts at him: “Get your fucking ass on the ground”. Two shots are fired at Noble, who collapses onto his back. A third shot is fired by the same officer. One then says: “If you reach one more time, you will get shot again. Stop.” As he lies on the ground barely moving, the fourth shot is fired.

“Do not reach again, please,” an officer said.

Speaking at the release of the video, Police Chief Dyer said it looked like Noble was holding something, but an investigation would seek to find out whether the force was necessary and justified. “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,” he said. “That video was extremely disturbing to watch. In many respects, we are a spark away from a forest fire in our communities in America.”

The recent police shootings of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have sparked worldwide protests against police brutality, led by the Black Lives Matter movement. At this moment in time, authority is very much under scrutiny for excessive force and racial motivations.

Both Castile and Sterling’s death were caught on camera and shared online, an act that teeters the line between morbid voyeurism and dehumanisation and necessary reportage of unlawful killing by authorities.

Dyer also refused to release the name of the officers involved, citing: “I don’t want anything to happen in our city like it happened in Dallas.”

Five police officers and nine others were killed by a shooter in Dallas, Texas last week at the scene of a peaceful protest.

Speaking at a conference, Noble’s father said: “I don’t want no riot. I don’t want anybody else hurt.” He added: “Nothing they do can bring my kid back ... but I want those cops to pay. 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.”