Surveillance video showing a Fresno police officer shooting an unarmed 16-year-old boy in the back of the head was released today, contradicting the initial police narrative that the cop was in fear for his life because the teen had been reaching for his waistband while making eye contact with him.
The video shows Isaiah Murrietta scaling a fence into an enclosed yard of a daycare center as a cop chasing him tries to do the same.
However, a second cop, Fresno Police Sergeant Ray Villalvazo, can be seen crouching down on the other side of the fence, firing a single round into the back of the teen's head.
The incident took place on April 17, 2017 after Fresno police pulled over a car that Murrietta was riding in and forced him and other teens to do the whole "officer safety" routine, ordering them to walk backwards towards them with their hands on their head.
The family says Murrietta ran because he was afraid of Fresno police. The cops ended the chase within seconds with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.
Police are claiming that Murrietta and his brother are suspects in a murder that took place the prior day but two years later, they have not even connected a murder weapon to the brothers.
According to the Fresno Bee:
Former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said back in March 2018 that an internal police investigation determined that “Sgt. Villalvazo’s actions were within department policy,” and that the shooting was justified because the teen was wanted for the murder of 19-year-old Eugenio Ybarra, who died a day prior to the Murrietta-Golding shooting.
Dyer also said then that Murrietta-Golding “reached into his waistband several times,” including when he looked back at Sgt. Villalvazo the moment just before he was shot.
“Fearing he was about to be shot, Sgt. Villalvazo fired one round, striking Murrietta-Golding,” Dyer said.
(Family attorney Stuart) Chandler disagrees with the former chief.
“There absolutely is no way the officer’s life was in danger,” Chandler said. “He was running away and he was trying to hold up his pants.
“And for the chief to make a comment that it was justified to shoot Isiah because he was considered a possible suspect, it’s not the place of the police to make that determination and without a trial.
“You can’t do that in America.”
An internal investigation cleared Villalvazo with any wrongdoing. He has since been promoted. The civil trial is scheduled for October 2020.