Another young and unarmed father was killed by police after the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark.
Diante “Butchie” Yarber, a 26-year-old father of three, was driving his cousin and friends to a local Walmart store in Barstow, California, two hours outside of Los Angeles, on April 5. In broad daylight, police officers fired what sounded like 30 quick, consecutive shots into Yarber’s packed car, killing him and injuring a woman in the vehicle, The Guardian reported. Within seconds, his life was cut short in another law enforcement-involved shooting that raised more outrage about what activists have said is the disregard of Black lives.
His life mattered, and it was taken away in a barrage of bullets.
Statements are routinely released by police to explain the encounter, shaping a defense of an officers’ actions in most cases. Officers alleged that Yarber was “wanted for questioning” in a car theft case and slammed into their vehicle, however, the man’s family and their attorney argued that the young father posed no threat. They believe that he should have never been treated as a suspect, a sentiment that many people of color also echo in cases of unarmed men being killed by cops.
“The police took him away for no reason,” Brittany Chandler, the mother of Yarber’s 19-month-old daughter, Leilani, said, according to 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.”
The investigation has shown that Yarber was unarmed and “not in the path” of the cop vehicle — facts that indicated officers should never have discharged their weapons, Dale Galipo, an attorney representing the woman hit and injured in the car, said. The officers in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, a police spokesperson said. No word yet on if they will be fired and if charges will be made.
But activists have been out on the streets in their fight for Yarber. Eighty to 100 people marched in Barstow last week, the VV Daily Press reported, with more protests likely to happen. They have a simple but powerful message: no justice equals no peace.