Video shows officer fatally shot unarmed teen as he ran away; police say it was justified

Newly released video of a fatal police shooting in April 2017 shows an officer firing a deadly shot at an unarmed 16-year-old who had jumped over a fence and was running away.

Police in Fresno, California, say that three different official departments have ruled the shooting justified.

The surveillance camera footage, provided by attorney Stuart Chandler, shows 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta Golding climb a fence and enter a small yard as he is being chased by two officers.

Murrietta Golding, wearing a gray sweater, lands on his feet and starts to run. One officer climbs the fence while the other gets into a crouching stance and fires through the fence, the video shows. Murrietta Golding then stumbles and falls to the ground.

In the police body camera footage, also provided by the attorney, someone off camera can be heard saying “good shot.”

Murrietta Golding’s parents filed separate wrongful death lawsuits against the city of Fresno and several of its officers in March 2018. Chandler, who represents Murrietta Golding’s father, said the suits were filed separately because the couple are divorced.

The bullet went through the back of the teen’s head, according to the father’s lawsuit, and he died three days later. The lawsuit claims the officer who fired had no “objective facts” to believe that Murrietta Golding was armed or reaching for a weapon. The teen was unarmed, the lawsuit states.

“The fact that the police department and the city of Fresno’s police auditor all agreed that this shooting was justified is troubling in light of the video that clearly shows that it’s not,” Chandler told CNN.

Lawsuit: Teen wanted for questioning

Citing police statements, the father’s lawsuit says that Murietta Golding was wanted for questioning in connection with a shooting one day earlier that had caused a fatal car crash. Fresno Police sought to question the teenager and pulled over a car in which he was a passenger, the lawsuit states.

The teenagers in the car initially complied with police. But Murietta Golding then took off running, the lawsuit states, leading to the fatal chase.

Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall told CNN affiliate KSEE that the shooting was ruled justified by police’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Fresno’s Office of Independent Review.

“The use of lethal force in this case occurred while officers were investigating a homicide. The 16-year-old in this case was involved in the homicide with his brother and the brother was later arrested and pled guilty,” Hall said.

“The (surveillance) video represents a different vantage point and was not what the pursuing officers could see. The 16-year-old was also known to carry firearms and had jumped a fence into a child daycare center.”

CNN has reached out to the Fresno Police Department and the Office of Independent Review for comment.

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8 comments

  • Michael

    Lethal force can be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect if it is believed the suspect poses an imminent threat to the public.

    I’d say a homicide suspect fleeing into a daycare center thought to be armed fits that.

    • Jack

      If someone is wanted for questioning does that make them a suspect? I do not believe so. At the time he was pulled over in the vehicle, he wasn’t a suspect. If a private citizen shot someone who was running away, it would be seen as a criminal act. Sometimes the police will try to cover each others’ butts when they have done something wrong. The officer knelt down and took a shot which hit him in the back of the head. That makes me believe he was aiming to kill him. It would be better to aim for center mass and have the small possibility of the person surviving. Aiming for one’s head is a shoot-to-kill type of move. How does he pose an imminent threat if he is “known to carry firearms” but they did not actually see a weapon? So he is running into a daycare facility and the officer thinks it would be okay to shoot in that area? Could have missed and killed a toddler. Some police have absolutely no restraint. Did he just not want to jump over the fence, so he decided to shoot instead? Also, it’s not the job of the police to give someone a sentence. That is what the courts are for.

    • Jack

      Nice, Fox17. I didn’t realize you would censor some comments and leave other harmful and racist comments for everyone to read. Good job.

  • lml25

    “Citing police statements, the father’s lawsuit says that Murietta Golding was wanted for questioning in connection with a shooting one day earlier that had caused a fatal car crash…the brother was later arrested and pled guilty.”
    There’s no case,yet the mother tries to hit the “black lotto”,by filing a lawsuit.Incredible,

    • Dan Smith

      LML25 : What is your obsession with black people? Seriously, like 99% of all your blathering posts has to blame, criticise or otherwise senselessly elicit black people – BUT, when a white person murders their parents/spouse/children or shoots up a school, church or random people going about their day, you have NOTHING to say. Not a single word. Ever.

      Seek mental help, your “Master race* mindset is a mental illness.

  • Dan Smith

    What is your obsession with black people?

    Seriously, 99% of all your blathering posts has to blame, criticise or otherwise senselessly mention something – ANYTHING – about black people.

    BUT, when a white person murders their parents/spouse/children or shoots up a school, church or random people going about their day, you have NOTHING to say. Not a single word. Ever.

    Seek mental help, your “Master race* mindset is a mental illness.

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