The father of an unarmed 19-year-old who was shot and killed by Fresno police has sued the city, saying officers should have used less-than-lethal force on his son.
The civil lawsuit filed Friday in Fresno County Superior Court comes more than three months after two Fresno police officers shot and killed 19-year-old Dylan Noble at a gas station.
In the lawsuit, father Darren Noble contends that officers Raymond Camacho and Robert Chavez plotted to inflict injury on his son.
"The officers never had an objectively reasonable basis to shoot Dylan Noble," the lawsuit claims. "They failed to first use, or attempt to use, the canine at the scene. At no time did they use, or attempt to use, a Taser, OC [pepper] spray, or other non-lethal remedies. … At no time did they use, or attempt to use, anything but deadly force."
Dylan Noble's death was "needless and avoidable," according to the lawsuit.
Attorney Warren Paboojian said Darren Noble is seeking unspecified damages as well as policy changes within the city and police department.
The Fresno city attorney declined to comment about the lawsuit.
"Our policy is not to discuss any pending or ongoing legal matters," the attorney's office said.
Local and federal authorities are investigating Dylan Noble's death, which gained national attention and sparked protests.
Officers encountered Dylan Noble's pickup truck while searching for an armed suspect. They signaled for Noble to stop, but the 19-year-old did not pull over. Police chased him to a Chevron gas station, where he stopped his truck.
In July, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer released footage from the officers' body cameras showing the confrontation between Dylan Noble and officers at the gas station.
An officer is heard yelling: "Turn off the truck. Get your hands out the window. Both hands out the window." Later, an officer screams: "Let me see both your hands. … Get both your hands out."
Dylan Noble exited the truck and approached, then moved away from officers, who called for backup. Officers gave 30 commands, urging Noble to show his hands, lift his hands or lie down on the ground, the chief said. The young man ignored the officers' orders and carried an object in his right hand. Noble yelled that he hated his life.
According to the lawsuit, Camacho shot Noble twice, causing him to fall to the ground.
The video footage showed Noble on the ground, moving his hands under his shirt.
Camacho then fired a third round, and Chavez fired a fourth round after about 12 seconds.
Noble was taken to a hospital, where he died three hours later.
In August, the Fresno County coroner's office released a toxicology report showing that Noble had a blood-alcohol content of 0.12 — 1.5 times the legal limit of 0.8 — and traces of cocaine.
The lawsuit claims that the city and Police Department have failed to properly train its officers in "de-escalation tactics and response to situations involving mentally impaired and/or intoxicated individuals."
"There is a pattern and practice of police officers not being properly disciplined for their actions involving use of excessive force and prior unjustified shooting of the city's citizens," the lawsuit claims. "As a result of this failure to address and discipline, the city of Fresno and its Police Department have fostered an environment and created a culture and belief that it is permissible to use excessive force, up to and including deadly force, against civilians without fear of repercussion, accountability or disciplinary action by the city of Fresno Police Department."
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