Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Newly released video shows a Fresno, California police officer shooting unarmed 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding in the back of the head. (Photo: Screengrab/ABC30 Fresno)

'This Was an Execution': Outrage as Video Shows California Police Officer Shooting Unarmed 16-Year-Old in Back of Head

"The city was so adamant that the officer 'feared for his life.' Why were they hiding the video? If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the video speaks a million words."

Jake Johnson

[Warning... Graphic footage contained in or linked to in this article... Some people may find disturbing.]

Shining new light on a 2017 police shooting that an internal investigation deemed "justified" and "within department policy," horrific video released this week showed that a Fresno, California officer shot unarmed 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding in the back of the head as he attempted to flee.

"They just saw him as an animal who had been shot. They hunted a target. It's inhumane."
—Stuart Chandler, attorney for Isiah Murrietta-Golding's father

The video was released by attorney Stuart Chandler, who is representing the teenager's father in a lawsuit against the Fresno Police Department.

"The city was so adamant that the officer 'feared for his life,'" Chandler told The Guardian on Thursday. "Why were they hiding the video? If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the video speaks a million words."

Chandler also condemned the decision by one of the officers to handcuff Murrietta-Golding after his partner, Sgt. Ray Villalvazo, shot the unarmed teenager, who died in a hospital three days later.

"He's unconscious and in the process of dying. What is the threat?" said Chandler. "They just saw him as an animal who had been shot. They hunted a target. It's inhumane."

Watch :

As The Guardian reported Thursday:

Surveillance footage of the 14 April 2017 killing of Isiah Murrietta-Golding... has spread across the U.S., with critics calling it another example of extreme police brutality and unjustified lethal force that would have received little attention if lawyers hadn't published the video.

The footage shows the teenager running from officers, jumping a fence, falling to the ground and continuing to flee. Murrietta-Golding was an estimated 35 feet away from the officers when one of them fired a single bullet into his head. The officer then hopped the fence, approached the boy's limp body and handcuffed his hands behind his back.

The video of the police shooting sparked outrage on social media.

New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie tweeted, "This was an execution."

"Well this is just stone cold murder," said another critic.

Julián Castro, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, reacted to the footage on Twitter with a call to completely overhaul policing in the United States.

"We have to reform our policing system to end the 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality that ends far too many black and brown lives," said Castro. "The fact that these officers weren't held accountable is shameful—and more evidence that the system is broken."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Utterly Shameless': Former Democratic Senators Join Fossil Fuel Lobby Group

"This is climate denial and shameful bullshit," scoffed one scientist. "Also the future for Manchin and Sinema."

Brett Wilkins ·


'When You Don't Change People's Lives, People Get Upset,' Says AOC

To reverse slump in Democratic approval ratings, the congresswoman said Biden should start by cancelling student loan debt.

Julia Conley ·


Sioux Tribe Withdraws as Cooperating Agency Over Dakota Access Pipeline Threat

"The prospect of an oil spill during such low water is truly scary," says the tribe's Water Resources Department administrator.

Jessica Corbett ·


New Report Shows How US Transportation System 'Fuels Inequality'

Favoring cars over public transit has "consequences for racial and economic justice, the environment, and more," the Institute for Policy Studies warns.

Brett Wilkins ·


Gas Stoves Even Worse for Climate, Health Than Previously Thought

New study shows methane leaks from U.S. gas-burning stoves have a climate impact comparable to emissions from about 500,000 cars.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo