Investigation into Dylan Noble's death may lead to charges against officers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Chief Jerry Dyer put out a statement Tuesday saying that contrary to our report on Monday, the internal affairs investigation is complete and resulted in no criminal charges.
RELATED: Fresno police dispute second investigation into Dylan Noble's death

But court documents show a Fresno police lieutenant saying the opposite.

Two Fresno police officers shot Dylan Noble in June 2016 after he appeared to ignore commands when they pulled him over. Video from the shooting scene made national news and Noble's death led to lawsuits from both of his parents against the police department and the city.

Now, there is a fight over what evidence the police have to hand over to Noble's family. Attorneys for the city demanded a gag order.

Attorneys for Noble's family refused to sign.

"The city likes what it's done in the past: spinning a story that it likes and then trying to force any competing voice to be quiet and we're not going to sit still for that," said Stuart Chandler, the attorney representing Veronica Nelson, Noble's mother.

As part of its argument against releasing information, the city submitted a statement from an internal affairs lieutenant.

It says in black and white there are still two active investigations into the death of Dylan Noble by the FBI and the internal affairs department -- both of which could result in criminal charges against the officers who shot him.

Underlined in the statement, it says the internal affairs investigation is ongoing and could result in the district attorney's office re-opening its criminal case.

"During this IA investigation, if additional information is discovered, it may be referred to the DA," the underlined portion of the statement reads. "The DA may re-open its criminal investigation and could thereafter pursue criminal charges against any of the involved officers."

When the department was asked about the declaration in October and the city eventually rejected a public records request.

We asked again and reported on the open investigations Monday when a federal judge mentioned the statement as part of a ruling ordering the city to turn over some evidence without a gag order -- including body camera video, autopsy reports, and interviews with witnesses.

On Tuesday, the department released a statement saying its criminal investigation is done.

Chief Jerry Dyer told us the contradictory court document from internal affairs boils down to strategies attorneys are using.

He said only very surprising new evidence could lead to reopening the criminal investigation.

And, as he did in the statement, he accused attorneys for Noble's parents of trying the case in the media.

"All we're trying to do really is try to set the record straight, if you will, Chandler said in response. "And I don't want to sensationalize anything. But what I do think is policing can't be top secret. That's what's happened in this case."

The police statement says they agree with the judge's ruling requiring a gag order for the release of some documents, like officer personnel records and personal observations.

But Chandler and Warren Paboojian, who represents Noble's father, both expect to get a lot of evidence without any protective order and they expect to get it within six weeks.
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