The attorney for the father of Dylan Noble has filed claims against the city on behalf of his client and the estate of Dylan Noble, saying Fresno police violated the 19-year-old’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force when officers shot him four times in a gas station parking lot last month.
Attorney Warren Paboojian filed the claims Thursday. A claim is the precursor to a lawsuit and the city must now either accept or reject the claim.
The claim does not specify the amount sought for Noble’s death, but Paboojian says the estate and his client, Darren Noble, are entitled to punitive damages and also asserted a survival claim for the loss or damage that Noble sustained or incurred before his death, including damages he would have been entitled to had he survived.
Paboojian says officers never tried to use anything other than lethal force when they confronted Noble during the June 25 traffic stop.
“The officers never had an objectively reasonable basis to shoot Dylan Noble,” Paboojian says. “At no time did they use or attempt to use their K-9 unit. At no time did they use or attempt to use a TASER.”
On Monday, attorney Stuart Chandler filed a similar claim against the city on behalf of Veronica Nelson, Noble’s mother. Earlier this week, the City Attorney’s Office said, “Our policy is to refrain from discussing any pending claim or litigation.”
Around 3:40 p.m. on June 25, Fresno police dispatch received a call from a woman who reported a man in a camouflage jacket walking around Clinton and Clovis avenues while carrying a rifle. Officers were in the area when they spotted Noble driving a pickup and initiated a traffic stop.
Paboojian acknowledges that after Noble pulled into the Chevron gas station, he got out of his vehicle, walked away from officers with his hands up and later turned and walked toward the officers. Paboojian also describes in the claim the succession of shots: two in rapid succession just over a minute after Noble stopped his truck, then another roughly 30 seconds later, while Noble was on the ground. Around 15 seconds later, a second officer fired a shotgun at Noble.
Paboojian notes in his claims that Noble did not resemble the man the officers were pursuing, and that Noble was not wearing any camouflage clothing.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer released the body camera footage from the shooting on Wednesday. The footage shows Noble ignoring the officers’ commands to show both of his hands and to stop moving his hands before he was shot.
At a news conference Wednesday evening at Paboojian’s northwest Fresno office, after Dyer spoke at police headquarters, Paboojian said the officers were needlessly aggressive from the outset.
“I want to focus on one real important area,” Paboojian said. “This is a traffic stop. By no stretch of the imagination do we get (from) traffic stop to felony.
“People are going to question Dylan’s conduct of why he did certain things,” Paboojian said. “The officers never gave Dylan an explanation or a chance to speak. The officers never, in those 30 commandments that Jerry Dyer indicated, did they ask him, ‘Do you have a gun?’
“All they were doing was telling a young boy who may have been under the influence of some alcohol to do a bunch of commands for a routine traffic stop.”
Dyer has said the two veteran officers feared for their safety when they encountered Noble. Also, Dyer said Noble did not follow officers’ orders and twice put a hand into his waistband, then withdrew it quickly. The officers thought he was reaching for a gun, and so they fired, the chief said.
Both officers are on paid leave while the shooting is investigated. No weapon was found on Noble.