It’s been more than two weeks since police killed another unarmed Black father in Barstow, California after Stephon Clark‘s fatal shooting. The families of both Diante Yarber and Clark are still left wondering when justice will come for these young fathers.
Excessive force and talk of misconduct concerning officers have been cited in both deadly shootings, with an attorney revealing a cop’s racist past in Yarber’s case.
One of the officers who killed Yarber, who was struck by 10 bullets out of some 30 revealed by witnesses and according to a medical report, was convicted of a hate crime in 2010, S. Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney hired by Yarber’s family, said. Cops also used racist slurs to refer to Yarber, a father of three, during the April 5 shooting at a Walmart store, Merritt added.
One of the officers said “[Expletive] We’re gonna kill you” to Yarber, witnesses told Merritt.
Cops responded to a call about a “suspicious” vehicle that Yarber was driving at Walmart and claimed the young man hit a police car during the encounter, ABC reported. Witnesses and Merritt have repeatedly said that Yarber posed no threat, saying he was only slowly backing out of a parking lot spot when officers fired their guns. Yarber’s fatal shooting, like that of Clark, was also seen as unjustified, witnesses added. They also believe that officers also failed to provide medical aid to Yarber after he firing at him.
Yarber’s cause of death was asphyxiation, Merritt said. If medical aid was rendered quickly, then the young man may not have choked on his own blood, witnesses said.
Barstow police have not officially released any of the names of the officers. However, one officer was identified as Jimmie Alfred Walker by sources who spoke with Merritt. Walker was convicted of hate crime for allegedly assaulting a Black couple and using racial slurs during an off-duty altercation in 2010. He pleaded to a lesser charge, got a settlement and was reinstated to the police force.
The cop had a documented history of hate, but yet he was allowed to patrol the streets again before taking Yarber’s life. This horrible information may never have been known if it wasn’t for Merritt and other activists calling for justice.
The fight for Yarber’s family must continue as more questions remain about the young man’s shooting, including why police have not released body camera video.