On the morning of April 5, 26-year-old Diante Yarber was fatally shot by police in Barstow while driving his cousin and his friends to Walmart.
In two separate news releases - one provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the other from the Barstow police - the authorities say that the shooting occurred around 11 a.m. "The vehicle then accelerated forward toward the officers, and then accelerated in reverse toward officers and striking another patrol vehicle", police said.
That's when police said they opened fire on the vehicle, killing the driver and leaving a female passenger with gunshot injuries that required her to be hospitalized.
Mr Merritt continued to say that he believed Mr Yarber was trying to shield the other occupants of the auto when he was killed.
"They saw a auto full of black people sitting in front of a Walmart, and they decided that was suspicious", Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, told the publication. "They just began pouring bullets ..." It's irresponsible. It's unsafe. "It's mind boggling, the use of force". Mr. Merritt confirmed that the video is of the shooting involving Mr. Yarber.
Aleta Yarber, Diante's aunt, said the auto Yarber was driving was never reported stolen and she said when she examined the auto after the shooting, it did not appear it had rammed into police vehicles.
Merritt said police then fired more than 30 rifle rounds into the driver's side door and through the windshield. The young man was struck at least "two dozen times", according to Merritt.
Mariana Tafoya, 26, one of the four passengers in the auto, is recovering in hospital from bullet wounds, Mr Merritt told AFP. According to the Guardian, the man's family and legal representation believe the fatal shooting to be another example of excessive police force against an unarmed Black man. That shooting triggered a wave of protests in California and across the country. He was wanted for questioning in a stolen vehicle case.
Yarber's aunt, Aleta Yarber, also pointed out that the vehicle Yarber was driving belonged to her son and was never reported stolen. "It was very traumatizing".
And the demonstrators had a message for police. "Your job is to arrest us and bring us before the people".
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