Just released video shows a Fresno, California police officer shooting and killing an unarmed 16-year-old in the back of the head as he ran away from the officer.
Once the boy fell to the ground and the cop then caught up to him, he did not administer any type of CPR whatsoever; but rather, he handcuffed the motionless, unconscious and dying teenager. A fellow police officer can be heard in the background complimenting the killer-cop on his marksmanship: “Good shot,” he says.
This surveillance footage depicts the April 14, 2017 killing of Isiah Murrietta-Golding. It was released last week by the family’s attorney. Why are we just now, almost three years later, seeing this video? Because the FPD has fought tooth and nail, from Day One of this killing right up until this moment, to keep this video hidden from the public.
The Surveillance Video
The surveillance video opens with the teenager running away from the officers; then climbing-jumping over what appears to be about an eight- to ten-foot wrought-iron fence. He then falls to the ground. He picks himself up and resumes running. He appears to be trying to hold his pants up as he runs.
Isiah Murrietta-Golding was about thirty-five feet in front of the cops when one of them fired a single bullet into his head. That cop was still on the other side of the fence. The cop who did not shoot then climbs over the fence, walks over to the now prostrate teen, reaches down to him and begins placing his limp arms and hands behind his back as he handcuffs him.
Throughout the almost three years since this killing, FPD has insisted (without showing the video as proof) that this shooting was “justified”, said Stuart Chandler, an attorney for Murrietta-Golding’s family.
“The city was so adamant that the officer ‘feared for his life’,” Chandler told The Guardian. “Why were they hiding the video? If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the video speaks a million words.”
The attorney further explained that the cops’ actions immediately following the shooting are difficult to watch, and even harder to understand.
“He’s unconscious and in the process of dying. What is the threat?” asked attorney Chandler. He answered his own question: “They just saw him as an animal who had been shot. They hunted a target. It’s inhumane.”
Indeed, the paramedic report indicated that these cops refused to remove the handcuffs when the EMTs showed up, thus limiting any aid they may have been able to otherwise provide. One EMT said that an officer told him that the cuffs would not come off until they got to the hospital.
Jerry Dyer, the Fresno police chief at the time of the shooting (and absolutely no relation to yours truly), has repeatedly stated that the officer who killed this boy, Sgt. Ray Villalvazo, thought “he was about to be shot”. Chief Dyer said that the teen “reached into his waistband several times”, according to the Fresno Bee.
The Bodycam Video
But, as stated, the footage obtained by attorney Chandler as a result of the discovery process in a civil lawsuit against the department, shows that at all times, Murrietta-Golding had his back to the cops as he ran away — all the while desperately trying to keep his pants up. He was unarmed.
Assassinating the Character of the Assassinated Is S.O.P. for Cops (Standard Operating Procedure)
Fresno’s current police chief, Andrew Hall, still says that this shooting/killing was justified because Murrietta-Golding was “known to carry firearms.” He also says that the fence in question was protecting a daycare center where preschoolers were at risk of being hurt by this presumed “armed and dangerous” teenager.
Furthermore, and to add more umph, plausibility and credibility to the “bad hombre” and/or fugitive-from-justice narrative, Chief Hall alleged that Murrietta-Golding was involved in a murder just the previous day.
According to the lawsuit, this whole incident began when police sought to question Murrietta-Golding at his home. However, they did not have a search or arrest warrant and were therefore denied entry into the home. So….they decided to stake out his house. At this point the police bodycam shows that the cops had pulled him over in a car containing two other teens. They held them all there outside the vehicle at gunpoint. Murrietta-Golding broke and ran.
As for the allegation that the daycare center was threatened, attorneys for the family said that because this incident occurred on a Saturday the daycare center was closed and quite empty. Attorney Chandler described the police department’s efforts to assassinate Murrietta-Golding’s character through insinuation, distraction, misdirection and red herring fishing as “despicable” and “irrelevant” to the officer’s cold-blooded killing of any “suspect” running away from him.
Fresno…We Have A Problem
This almost three-year-old killing occurred only nine months after Fresno police shot and killed Dylan Noble, an unarmed 19-year-old man. At least three Fresno cops shot Noble multiple times, including while he was lying prostrate on the ground and barely moving. Dylan Noble was unarmed, although one of the policemen who killed him insisted that he “thought” Noble had “something” in his hand, thus he “feared for [his] life.”
Attorney Chandler noted that the Fresno police learned nothing from the Dylan Noble killing because no meaningful police reforms after Noble’s death, nor in the nearly three years since this latest shooting, have been forthcoming.
“There has been no change in either the culture, the training or the mentality regarding the use of deadly force,” said Chandler.
For what it’s worth, the state of California recently passed a series of reforms meant to specifically address and limit the use of lethal force by police. I have critiqued that law here:
California to Cops: Kill Only ‘When Necessary’ Not ‘When Reasonable’
Leading the way, as usual, California has significantly “changed the narrative” around when it’s a good time for police…
We shall see within a few months whether this new law will make any difference to police departments in California. However, since it does not provide for any stricter departmental or, crucially, more individual punishment for trigger happy cops, and since it does not get at the real problem here — the powerful police unions which really call the shots in police departments just about everywhere — I’m guessing that we will be revisiting stories just like this one in the very near future.