Killing teenagers is now ‘justifiable’

Autumn Page, Marketing Director

Today, seeing a story on the news about someone being shot — whether it’s involved with a mass shooting or individual — is not surprising. We’re numb to the bad and inhumane events that happen here in the United States. 

The name Isiah Murrietta Golding might sound familiar. In April 2017, he was running from some police officers, and was shot from behind. He died three days later in the hospital. 

On Oct. 23, a body cam video from one of the officers and a new surveillance video, released by attorney Stuart Chandler, came into light. The body cam video shows the entire process, from when the officers pulled over the car that Isiah was in, on the grounds that he and his brother were suspects of a murder case. The video shows the officer ordering Isiah to get on his knees, then Isiah proceeds to break into a run. 

Police chase him, and then we see Isiah climbing over a fence. In both videos, we clearly see one police officer shoot Isiah in the back of the head. “Nice shot,” someone says after.

Sgt. Ray Villalvazo is the one who pulled the trigger, according to CBS News, and Isiah allegedly reached for his waist multiple times, causing fear for his life.

In March 2018, his parents filed separate lawsuits, on the grounds of wrongful death, against the city of Fresno and several of its officers. The lawsuits were filed separately because Isiah’s parents are divorced, according to a statement Chandler made in a CNN article, a representative for Isiah’s father. 

Isiah’s mother’s wrongful death suit, according to the CNN article, took place during the foot chase, saying her son “never threatened any officer” or made “any threatening gestures,” and nothing Isiah could have done would have “justified the use of deadly force.”

Following the release of the two videos, the chief of the Fresno Police Department alleged the shot made by Sgt. Ray Villalvazo was justified. 

“The City of Fresno has a policy not to comment on pending litigation, however in this case I feel it is necessary to make an exception,” a statement regarding the body cam video read. “The video released yesterday is an officer involved shooting that occurred over two years ago. The use of lethal force in this case occurred while officers were investigating a homicide … The 16-year-old was also known to carry firearms and had jumped a fence into a child daycare center.

“The officer involved shooting was investigated by the Fresno Police Department ‘s Internal Affairs Bureau, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Fresno’s Office of Independent Review. All three reviews concluded that the use of lethal force was justified.The ongoing judicial processes will take into consideration all of the factors involved in this officer involved shooting.”

What has many people in dismay is that, not only did the officer shoot Isiah in the head, but the chief of police, a leading figure of an institution that’s supposed to keep everyone safe, said the shot that killed a 16-year-old boy was justifiable. 

As of now, Isiah nor his parents haven’t gotten the justice they deserve, and a major law enforcement officer just told the entire world that shooting a 16-year old, or anyone for that matter, so fatally, without proper reason, is justifiable. 

This is the type of people that hold power in this world — where shooting kids can be brushed off as if it was nothing. It is sickening.