FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "Isiah did not have a gun and there is no reason for the police to think that he did," said Civil Rights Attorney Michael Haddad.
The Bay Area lawyer filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding. Investigators believe a Fresno Police officer wrongfully shot the teen in the back of the head last April.
That is when the young man was pulled over during a traffic stop in northeast Fresno to be questioned about a deadly shooting the day before.
Authorities say he quickly took off running--later reaching inside his waistband, creating a sense of fear for the officer chasing him.
"But even that claim by the police is not lawful because police can't just shoot someone because they reached for their waistband because they have no reason. Even though he was armed the day before doesn't mean he's going to be armed the next day and you can't just go around shooting somebody because they used to be armed 24 hours earlier," said Haddad.
In the filings, the officer who shot Murrieta-Golding is identified as Sgt. Ray Villalvazo.
Haddad says he should have taken a different approach instead of using excessive force.
"When Isaiah had jumped the fence and was about to get away Villavarzo did not jump the fence instead he shot through it and shot Isiah in the back of the head and ended up killing him," said Haddad.
But Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says even though no weapon was found. His officer was justified when he fired the one round that hit Murrietta-Golding.
"There was no policy violation the use of force was within department policy based on the fear that that officer experience at the time that he was chasing after the suspect who was wanted for murder the fact he was armed with a firearm the day before and believed to be armed with a firearm when he reached in his waitsband and turned towards the officer," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.