News and Commentary

Cops Shoot White Guy in Fresno; Nobody Pays Attention

Somehow, the shooting of an unarmed white man by police isn’t drawing any attention from the mainstream media.

Unlike the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, which have created yet another firestorm complete with accusations of police racism, the media is ignoring the death of Dylan Noble, a 19-year-old white man, on June 25.

According to Fresno police, they responded to a report that a man was walking around with a rifle. Spotting a speeding truck, they tried to accost the driver, Noble. Instead, he fled and led the police on a half-mile chase.

Noble finally entered a gas station parking lot; police asserted he kept his hands hidden, and made a “conscious effort to conceal one hand behind his back, then in his waistband, as he exited the truck, and walked away from officers,” according to a press release from Fresno police.

Police said Noble muttered that he “hated his life,” reversed direction and walked back toward the police, prompting them to shoot him four times.

A witness standing roughly 100 feet away videotaped the incident for 26 seconds; the video shows two shots being fired. ABC 7 reported, “Noble appears to already be on the ground near or underneath his truck. There was a 14 second gap in between the two shots in the video.” Police body cameras also filmed the incident, but the department will not release it to the public as yet.

A further investigation revealed Noble was unarmed.

Noble’s parents have hired lawyers for a prospective lawsuit against the police; have retained attorneys who were looking at the possibility of suing the police department.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer pointed out that the video does not show what preceded the shots: police issuing commands to Noble for over a minute as he ignored them and made motions as though he was armed. Dyer stated, “When he gets within about 12 feet of the officers, he makes the statement ‘I hate my effing life’ and then he quickly starts to pull his hand out when the officer fires two rounds and shoots him.”

Although the witness video is inconclusive as to what happened prior to the shooting, Dyer said body cam footage from about 10 to 12 feet away was more comprehensive, saying, “That happened twice, where he deliberately raised his shirt with the left hand and reached with his right hand underneath his shirt into the waistband. The officers, at that point, believed he was trying to retrieve a firearm and they fired.”

Dyer explained the reason for the reticence of the department to release the video: the ongoing investigation. He added, “I believe it explains so much, but I believe it is premature. I don’t want to taint any potential witnesses.” He said the video could be released in the next two months. He concluded that he has asked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General’s office to conduct their own investigations; they said they would do so.