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Diante Yarber sat in his car at the parking lot when police officers arrived at the store according to Voxvia a press release.Officers were called in after getting reports of a “suspicious vehicle” and tried to give a traffic stop.
During the stop, it’s reported that Yarber “reversed the vehicle and struck one of the patrol cars.” The release details that Yarber struck a second car when officers opened fire.
Video taken by a bystander shows cops opening fire on Yarber’s car as shoppers in the parking lot ran for cover. Witnesses recall hearing up to 30 shots go off during the incident.
Yarber was not the only one in the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene while a woman in the car was injured and a man was unharmed.
“They saw a car full of black people sitting in front of a Walmart, and they decided that was suspicious,” said attorney Lee Merritt representing Yarber’s family. “They just began pouring bullets. … It’s irresponsible. It’s dangerous. It’s mind-boggling, the use of force.”
Officers believed Yarber was a suspect in a stolen car case, however, Yarber’s aunt said that the vehicle was not stolen but a family member according to The Guardian.
Police are arguing that the incident was a result of an assault on an officer according to Dale Galip, the lawyer representing Marian Tafoya, the woman in the car. Upon an investigation, it was revealed that Yarber was unarmed and officers were not in way of the car when the opened fire.
This shooting has caused a community outcry and protests asking for better use of police force. Yarber’s death like many other Black men who have been killed brings awareness to a police force and justice system in dire need of reform.