(Reuters) - The Fresno, California police department released body camera videos on Wednesday showing two officers fatally shooting an unarmed white man amid renewed scrutiny across the United States over the use of force by police.
Dylan Noble was shot and killed on June 25 during a traffic stop by two unidentified police officers who thought the 19-year-old was armed, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told a news conference.
The release of the videos comes as police are under sharp scrutiny across the country over numerous high-profile police killings of unarmed black people, sparking widespread and sometimes destructive protests.
Dyer said the decision to release them was based on public concern over how police handled the incident, which has sparked protests. “I am calling for calm in our community,” he said.
The video footage show Noble getting out of a pick-up truck during a traffic stop and then failing to comply with officers commands several times.
During the incident, Noble said that he “hated his life” and held his right hand behind his back. Officers also saw Noble reach into his glove box and grasp something, Dyer said.
Noble repeatedly put his right hand behind his back and into his waistband as he walked toward and away from officers who had their weapons drawn toward him, the video showed.
One of the officers told investigators that “he thought Noble was either taunting him or was practicing pulling out a gun,” said Dyer, who noted it was later determined that Noble was unarmed.
An officer twice shot Noble, who fell to the ground. He then fired a third round at Noble as he was reaching again under his shirt and into his waistband. A second officer shot Noble when he again reached into his waistband, the video showed.
“Some of this video will answer many of the questions that are out there in this community,” Dyer said. “However, I also believe this video is going to raise questions just as those questions exist in my mind as well.”
Dyer said questions remain as to whether the last two shots that were fired by police when Noble was lying on the ground were necessary. A criminal and an internal affairs investigation are ongoing.
Noble’s mother has filed a wrongful-death claim against the department, local media reported.