The Fresno Police Department is responding after shocking video showing an officer involved shooting was released.
Isaiah Murrieta-Golding was shot in the back of the head while running from police in 2017. Now the City of Fresno is engaged in a civil lawsuit which could cost it millions of dollars.
A lawyer representing the boy’s father said the use of deadly force in this case was uncalled for.
Bodycam and surveillance cameras caught the moment police shot 16-year-old Murrieta-Golding. He later died from his injuries.
“I mean it’s unjustified. I don’t know how anyone looking at this video can say this young man running away from an officer or a group of officers posed a threat to them or anybody else,” Stuart Chandler the family’s attorney said Wednesday.
This began on April 14, 2017, when someone opened fire on a car on North and Gettysburg. The driver died from his injuries. Police identified Murrietta-Golding and his 17-year-old brother as possible suspects.
The next day police attempt to take Murrietta-Golding into custody. Chandler said the teen was unarmed and police did not have a warrant for his arrest.
“On the day that Isaiah was shot, their objective that day was to detain him, to interview him, to photograph him as part of their investigation,” he said.
Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall released a statement saying in part:
“The use of lethal force in this case occurred while officers were investigating a homicide. The 16 year-old in this case was involved in the homicide with his brother and the brother was later arrested and pled guilty. The video represents a different vantage point and was not what the pursuing officers could see. The 16 year-old was also known to carry firearms and had jumped a fence into a child daycare center.”
At the time of the incident former chief Jerry Dyer said the officer who fired thought the teen was armed and reaching for a weapon. But Stuart along with legal analyst David Mugridge said the video appears to depict otherwise.
“It sure looked to me like this young man was attempting to hold his pants up so he could run,” Mugridge said. He also said what came next was unsettling. “Good shot” an officer seemed to say.
“Instead of shooting him in the leg, shooting him in the back, somewhere in the body that would bring him down, that’s a little disturbing. It’s almost like a hunting statement,” Mugridge said.
He also said city lawyers will have their work cut out for them. “People run from police all the time and it’s a despicable act, but the police are only justified in shooting and killing someone when they think their life is on the line.”