(BARSTOW, Calif.) — A lawyer representing the family of a 26-year-old black man shot and killed in a Walmart parking lot two weeks ago in California is demanding authorities release dashcam video footage to show that the use of force was unwarranted.
Diante Yarber died April 5 after Barstow Police fired at his vehicle, which contained three passengers, all of whom also are believed to be unarmed, more than two dozen times. Authorities said Yarber rammed a police car while accelerating in reverse and then sped toward officers.
“Our initial investigation has revealed that statements police made about Yarber attempting to ram a squad car at the time police shot into his vehicle are not true,” Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney, told ABC News in a statement. “Video evidence shows the black Ford Mustang Yarber was operating backing slowly away from police when they opened fire.
“We can see no justification for violating policy and procedure, and employing deadly force in a situation where the vehicle presented no immediate danger to law enforcement. Moreover, firing over 30 rounds into a car occupied by four unarmed pedestrians in a crowded Walmart parking lot in the middle of the day was massively irresponsible and reckless.”
Police have said that video, shot by a bystander, is from after Yarber rammed the squad car.
According to a statement from Anthony Riley, a public information officer for the Barstom Police Department, the incident began when “officers left their vehicles and commanded the driver to exit his vehicle.”
The statement continued, “The suspect/driver began accelerating his vehicle in reverse, striking a police vehicle. The vehicle then accelerated forward towards the officers, and then accelerated in reverse towards officers and striking another patrol vehicle. Afterwards, an officer-involved shooting ensued.”
One officer involved suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.
A woman in the car struck by the gunfire was airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center, according to the statement. The other two men in the car exited the vehicle and were detained by Barstow Police.
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