Cop accused in Diante Yarber killing once faced hate crime charges

One of the cops involved in the shooting death of the 26-year-old had been in trouble over violent behavior in the past

Diante Yarber
Diante Yarber

A white cop who was charged with a hate crime, fired from the force and got his job back after he a plea deal to get his charges dropped, is one of the officers involved in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man, reports The Guardian.

Diante Yarber was sitting in a Walmart parking lot waiting for family when police were called on him. Officer Jimmie Alfred Walker was one of the officers on the scene who opened fire on Yarber. The Guardian now reports that Walker has a sordid history and was charged in 2010  with four misdemeanors –- including a hate crime.

READ MORE: Diante Yarber, father of three, shot and killed by police in Walmart parking lot

Walker was charged with a hate crime and battery charges after he allegedly hurled racial slurs at a man and beat him and a woman while off duty, according to the Guardian.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of fighting in a public place and being drunk in public. So 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 had to make a $200 donation to the NAACP. Court records show he was also required to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Getting around charges

Walker was subsequently fired because of the charges but an arbiter later ruled that the termination was wrongful. The city was forced to give Walker his job back and issue back pay totaling $163,000.

A lawyer for one of the women in Yarber’s car who was injured, believes his racist past proves racial bias.

 “We believe that it shows his improper motive and his bias and hatred of African Americans,” said Sharon Brunner.

“We believe that the only reason that he would believe the car was suspicious is because it contained African Americans.”

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Yarber’s family, said the media needs to focus on the cop’s background, not Yarber’s.

“The relevant criminal record is the criminal record of the shooter. That has been absent from the discussion.”

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Walker and officers Vincent Carrillo, Mathew Allen Helms and corporal Jose Barrientos, were involved in the shooting shot Yarber 10 times. An autopsy found that he choked on his own blood after police unleashed a barrage of bullets into his car, killing him.

Merritt had a private autopsy conducted on the 26-year-old’s body, reports CBS News. Merritt said the autopsy revealed that Yarber died of asphyxiation on April 5, and said police delayed getting Yarber medical help which could have saved his life.

Yarber had defensive wounds on his chest, back and arms “as he was shielding himself and trying to escape the onslaught of bullets,” Merritt said. This week, he said he plans to file a civil rights lawsuit.

The video of the shooting taken by a bystander and posted by activist Shaun King has gone viral. 

READ MORE: #MovingWhileBlack: Why did ex-Obama admin staffer get wrongly fingered as a burglary suspect?

Yarber, a father of three, was killed as he and three other people sat in a black Mustang that police fired multiple rounds upon in the Barstow, CA, Walmart parking lot.

Merritt estimates there were 30 rounds shot into the vehicle, killing Yarber and injuring two passengers. Backseat passenger Marian Tafoya was critically injured and had to be airlifted for medical attention.

He maintains that racial prejudice played a role in the shooting and they believe it was unjustified.

Marlon Hawkins was in the car with Yarber and said he believes they were being targeted for being black.

 “It’s really disheartening that we have these demonic people out there claiming to protect and serve … What they did was nothing short of evil.”