The mother of Dylan Noble, the 19-year-old fatally shot by Fresno police officers last month during a traffic stop, has filed a claim against the city, saying Fresno police made no attempt to use anything less than lethal force when her son encountered officers in a gas station parking lot last month.
Stuart Chandler, the attorney for Veronica Nelson, filed the claim Monday. In it, Chandler alleges Nelson has suffered loss of companionship and “significant emotional and mental distress as a result of the senseless and brutal shooting death of her son.”
Chandler does not specify how much in damages he is seeking for Noble’s death. A claim is the precursor to a lawsuit and represents one side in a legal dispute.
In the complaint, Chandler said a K-9 unit was among the officers that confronted Noble, but Fresno police at no point used anything other than lethal force.
“The officers never had an objectively reasonable basis to shoot Dylan Noble,” the complaint said. “At no time did they use or attempt to use their K-9. At no time did they use or attempt to use a TASER.”
In a statement, the City Attorney’s Office said that “our policy is to refrain from discussing any pending claim or litigation.”
Around 3:40 p.m. on June 25, 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. Chandler wrote that Noble pulled into a Chevron gas station, got out of his vehicle, walked away from officers with his hands up and later turned and walked toward the officers.
Chandler said in the complaint that an officer fired two shots in rapid succession at Noble just over a minute after he was stopped. After roughly 30 seconds, Noble was on the ground and was shot again by the same officer. Around 15 seconds later, a second officer fired a shotgun at Noble.
The complaint also notes that while the units were looking for a pedestrian said to be wearing a camouflage jacket and holding a rifle, Noble did not match the description of the man they were pursuing and was not a pedestrian.
Chandler does not request a specific amount in the claim but writes that Nelson is entitled to general, special and punitive damages.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said two veteran officers feared for their safety when they encountered Noble at the Chevron station at Shields and Armstrong avenues.
Dyer has 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.
Police spokesman Joe Gomez said the city plans to make the body-camera footage public once the District Attorney’s Office has finished its investigation.