The Fresno City Council approved a record $2.8 million settlement Thursday between the city and the family of 19-year-old Dylan Noble, who was killed by Fresno police in 2016.
Veronica Nelson, Noble’s mother, and father Darren Noble each filed lawsuits in the months that followed their son’s death on June 25, 2016.
A joint settlement was released by Nelson, Noble and the city shortly after the council’s decision. It outlined several changes to the Fresno Police Department’s policy manual:
“First, all sworn department members, including the involved officers, will undergo additional training on high-risk traffic stops, to include how to safely approach a wounded suspect and alternatives to be considered when addressing a diminished threat.”
“In addition, department procedure for deploying K9s on possibly armed subjects is being reviewed and researched to ensure department policy is consistent with best practices in law enforcement.”
“Lastly, all department shotguns and rifles will be equipped with a sling in order to allow officers to more easily transition from the use of a shotgun or long rifle, to a less lethal alternative, should the need arise.”
The $2.8 million also covers Nelson’s and Noble’s attorney fees. Nelson will receive $1.49 million, while Darren Noble gets $1.29 million. A separate check for $20,000 must be made out by the city to “the estate of Dylan Noble.”
Mediation in the case began on July 18. The two sides reached the agreement on July 27. The case had originally been set for jury trial on June 25, 2019.
Noble was unarmed when two officers opened fire during a traffic stop. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said his officers believed Noble may have been armed, and body camera footage showed him move toward officers and yell before being shot.
Stuart Chandler and Warren Paboojian, attorneys for Nelson and Darren Noble, argued that officers could have taken non-lethal action, such as using a police dog, to handle the incident.
Chandler, Paboojian and Dyer told The Bee they could not comment beyond the joint statement. City Attorney Doug Sloan said from the dais Thursday that the city would have no further comment on the settlement.
Article 9 of the settlement prohibits all sides from “seeking publicity.”
The city’s Office of Independent Review found the shooting was not in line with Fresno Police Department policy, and Dyer previously expressed some doubt as to whether his officers’ final shot — a shotgun blast to the body as Noble lay on the pavement — was in line with his department’s rules.
The largest settlement against the city in a police shooting previously was $2.2 million in 2016. The parents of Jaime Reyes Jr., 28, sued the city after he was shot while climbing a fence at Aynesworth Elementary School in southeast Fresno in the afternoon of June 6, 2012.