Police auditor questions actions in Dylan Noble case

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Dylan Noble case has earned a critique from the man in charge of reviewing complaints against the Fresno Police Department.

"There was clearly no perceived threat coming other than what could happen at the end of that car chase," said Rick Rasmussen of the Office of Independent Review, who adds the deadly shooting in June has generated the most public interest in the history of his office.

The gun came out 25 seconds before the officer got out of his patrol car to confront Noble. Two lawsuits say it was an unnecessary escalation -- the first of several moments when Fresno police chose to make the situation worse instead of better. And now the city's Office of Independent Review says it's a "real issue."

"Bullets fired through glass, specifically safety glass - sloped safety glass - their angle of flight is unpredictable at best," Rasmussen said.

His latest report does not address the entire incident because he didn't get the result of FPD's internal review in time. But his findings echo some of what attorneys for Noble's parents have been saying since two officers shot the 19-year-old, who was unarmed but making strange movements officers say led them to believe he had a weapon.

"There should've been a de-escalation," said Stuart Chandler, who represents Noble's mother in one of those lawsuits. "There was no threat. There was no gun. There was no crime having been committed."

Chandler joined Noble's mother and friends for an unrelated rally outside the police department Monday. He says the new report is encouraging, partly because it recommends Fresno police adopt de-escalation as a formal agency policy.

"That's not to say that's not what they're currently doing," Rasmussen said. "We want to emphasize de-escalation as our first approach rather than our second, third, or fourth."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer tells Action News the department's policy discourages shooting from a moving vehicle, and training points out the dangers of shooting through a windshield. But he says the video simply shows the officer being prepared for a possible threat. And he doesn't want policies to exclude anything that could be a useful tool for an officer.

"We have to be very careful not to create a policy or create training that's going to prevent an officer from defending themselves in the event of an immediate threat posed to them," Dyer said.

The Fresno County district attorney's office is reviewing the case and within the next two months, they should decide whether the officers will face any charges.
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