Diante Yarber: officer involved in killing was previously charged with hate crime
Revealed: police confirm Jimmie Alfred Walker, who allegedly used racial slurs and attacked a man in 2010, was one of those involved in Yarbers death outside a Walmart in California
One of the police officers involved in the shooting of Diante Yarber, a young black man killed in a hail of bullets in a Walmart parking lot, was previously charged with a hate crime and fired from the force, the Guardian has learned.
A police spokesman in Barstow, California, confirmed late Monday that officer Jimmie Alfred Walker was one of the officers involved in the 5 April shooting. The death of the 26-year-old father of three sparked national backlash after it was revealed that officers had fired a barrage of rounds into a car, injuring a young woman and killing Yarber, who was believed to be unarmed.
Walker, who is white, was charged in 2010 with hate crime and battery charges after the then 30-year-old officer allegedly used racial slurs against a man and assaulted him and a woman while off duty. The officer eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of fighting in a public place and being drunk in public, while the battery charge and hate crime charge (violating civil rights by force or threat of force) were dropped, according to records obtained by the Guardian.
As part of his plea deal, Walker was forced to make a $200 donation to the NAACP and required to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings, the court documents show. The local newspaper Victorville Daily Press reported at the time that Walker was fired as a result, but that an arbiter later ruled that the termination was wrongful, forcing the city to reinstate him and pay him $163,000 in owed wages.
The Barstow police captain, Andrew Espinoza, confirmed to the Guardian that in addition to Walker, the other officers involved in the shooting of Yarber were corporal Jose Barrientos, officer Vincent Carrillo and officer Mathew Allen Helms. The department had previously refused to disclose the names despite intense pressure. Walker could not be reached for comment, and two attorneys who have represented him did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Blurry witness footage suggested that police may have fired more than 30 bullets into Yarbers car. Police have claimed officers were responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle and that Yarber was wanted for questioning in a stolen vehicle case. Officials further alleged that he accelerated the car towards officers when they tried to stop him, almost hitting one officer.
His family and attorneys, however, told the Guardian that the car Yarber was driving to the store with his cousin and friends inside, was not stolen, that he was unarmed and not a threat to the policemen, and that it violated basic law enforcement standards to fire into a packed vehicle.