Earlier this month, we reported on the police shooting of a black man named Diante Yarber in a Barstow, CA Walmart parking lot. Even then, the circumstances of the shooting seemed suspect, as they often do in these all too common and tragic incidents. Now, the victim’s attorneys are saying that one of the officers, Jimmie Alfred Walker, was involved in a hate crime back in 2010. Walker allegedly assaulted a woman and man while yelling racial slurs while off-duty. Despite that glaring conflict of interest, he was allowed back on the force.
Yarber’s attorneys also allege that the police officers used racial slurs during their confrontation, which occurred on April 5. According to attorney Lee Merritt, one of the officers yelled, “[Expletive] we’re gonna kill you." Yaber was shot at least 10 times, with around 30 bullets fired, according to medical reports. Merritt says his client ultimately died by choking on his own blood, and could have survived had he received medical treatment sooner. “At no time did they see law enforcement attempt to render aid or resuscitate or help Diante Yarber at all,” said Merritt.
Barstow Police Chief Albert Ramirez Jr. released a summary of the shooting as well as another police run-in with the victim. Ramirez claims Yarber had previously been pulled over on March 18 because the Hyundai he was driving had allegedly been reported as stolen. In that instance, Yarber fled on foot. On the day of the shooting, officers were responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle.
The caller gave the authorities the license plate number, and police were able to confirm that the car was registered to Yarber. Officers on the scene say Yarber refused to get out the car, as per their request, and tried to speed away, nearly hitting an officer in the process. Yarber’s family and witnesses inside the car dispute these claims, saying that Yarber was slowly backing out his vehicle when the shooting took place. Bodycam footage from the incident has been turned over to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. It will not be released to the public, as it is part of the ongoing investigation.
Yarber was the father of three children.