26-year-old Diante Yarber was killed in a flurry of more than 30 police bullets after a traffic stop in Barstow, California earlier this month.
On April 5, Yarber, his cousin, and several friends were in a car in a Walmart parking lot when officers opened fire. According to a press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which listed the Barstow Police Department officers as the “victim,” Yarber was wanted for questioning in the matter of a stolen vehicle case when he was stopped.
“Officers attempted a traffic stop of the Mustang when the driver suddenly reversed the vehicle and struck one of the patrol cars,” the press release read. “When the driver again accelerated toward the officers and struck a second patrol car, the officer involved shooting occurred. Two of the four occupants were struck by gunfire.”
However, video filmed by a witness in the parking lot appears to show that Yarber’s vehicle was reversing slowly away from officers at the time of the shooting when a police vehicle pulled into its path right before the shooting. When the footage is slowed, at least 30 shots are heard.
.”The police took him away for no reason,” Brittany Chandler, the mother of Yarber’s 19-month-old daughter, Leilani, told The Guardian. “The police should be held accountable for this … They are sick people for them to be able to shoot someone down in broad daylight.”
Yarber’s death comes on the heels of the killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was also unarmed, at the hands of police in Sacramento, California in March. Clark was in his own backyard at the time, and had a cellphone in his hands that officers said they believed was a gun. Clark was shot 8 times in the back.
Barstow police have had body cameras since 2014. However, no body camera footage of the killing of Diante Yarber has been released as of this writing. Grit Post’s calls to Barstow Police Captain Andrew Espinoza — the department’s public information officer — were not returned prior to publication of this story.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.