Never-before-seen surveillance video shows a California cop fatally shooting a fleeing 16-year-old boy in back of the head
- Isiah Murrietta-Golding was wanted in connection to a homicide when he was shot and killed by police in Fresno, California, in April 2017
- Video released as part of wrongful death lawsuit filed by teen’s father shows cop shooting the 16-year-old in the back of the head through a fence as he ran
- Partner of the cop who opened fire is heard saying, ‘Good shot’
- Office of Independent Review later concluded that use of lethal force was justified because police believed teen was reaching for a gun
A never-before-seen surveillance video has been made public this week as part of a wrongful death lawsuit showing a California police officer fatally shooting am unarmed 16-year-old boy in the back of the head during a foot chase.
Isiah Murrietta-Golding was wanted in connection to a homicide when the car he was riding in with his brother was pulled over by police on April 15, 2017, in Fresno.
Police officers were on the verge of taking Murrietta-Golding into custody when he took off running.
This screenshot from a a surveillance video shows a Fresno, California, a police officer fatally shoot 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding in April 2017
Murrietta-Golding was a suspect in a homicide. He led police on a chase after a traffic stop, which ended in the yard of a day care center
After taking just eight steps in the yard, Sgt Ray Villalvazo (pictured behind the fence on the lef) drew his gun and opened fire
The officers pursued the teenage suspect on foot and ordered him to stop, as seen in the newly released video obtained by KFSN.
In the footage, Murrietta-Golding is seen jumping over a fence surrounding a day care facility.
At that moment, Sgt Ray Villalvazo – one of the two officers chasing the teen – draws his gun and fires a single shot through the fence, which causes Marietta-Golding to crumple to the ground after taking just eight steps.
Villalvazo’s partner can be heard telling him in the background, ‘Good shot.’
An investigation conducted by the City of Fresno’s Office of independent Review later found that during the chase, the officers saw Murrietta-Golding repeatedly reach for his waistband while looking at them over his shoulder.
According to the investigation, Villalvazo opened fire believing that Murrietta-Golding was reaching for a gun.
The teen collapsed to the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the back of the head
in the video, one of the officers tells the cop who opened ire, ‘Good shot’
An investigation conducted by the Office of independent Review sided with police
The 16-year-old was shot once in the back of the head. No weapon was found in his possession.
The OIR sided with the officer, concluding that his use of lethal force in this case was consistent with the department’s policy.
‘The reasonableness of force is based on the officer making a split second decision after observing the suspect reaching for his waistband area several times during the foot pursuit,’ wrote independent reviewer John Gliatta.
Separate investigations by the Fresno Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office have reached the same conclusion.
Murrietta-Golding died of a gunshot wound to the head. He was unarmed at the time of his shooting
Murrietta-Golding’s father has filed a civil lawsuit against Sgt Villalvazo and the Fresno Police Department, alleging excessive force and wrongful death.
Plaintiff’s attorney Stuart Chandler challenged the OIR’s findings, arguing that the law says there has to be an immediate threat of death or serious injury to justify a police officer’s use of deadly force.
‘This young man was trying to run away,’ he told KFSN. ‘And you can be as critical as you want about how you shouldn’t do that, but it doesn’t give police the right to use lethal force.’
Fresno Police Department Chief Andrew Hall defended his officers’ actions, saying in a statement that Murrietta-Golding and his brother were suspects in a murder investigation, and that the brother later pleaded guilty.
‘The video represents a different vantage point and was not what the pursuing officers could see,’ Hall argued. ‘The 16-year-old was also known to carry firearms and had jumped a fence into a child daycare center.’
The father’s lawsuit notes that the day care was closed at the time of the shooting, and that police did not have warrants for the arrest of Murrietta-Golding and his brother at the time of the traffic stop.
The wrongful death lawsuit is set to go to trial in October 2020.
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