Barstow, California

Police Murder Diante Yarber with Barrage of Gunfire

April 20, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |



On the morning of April 5, Diante “Butchie” Yarber, a 26-year-old Black man, drove a few friends to Walmart in his hometown of Barstow, California. While Diante was still driving through the parking lot Barstow pigs pulled up on him. Within seconds they unleashed a barrage on the car. Witnesses told reporters that it sounded like the police fired over 30 shots.

Within moments, Diante Yarber was bleeding to death. The cops critically wounded 23-year-old Mariana Tafoya, then cuffed her and put her in a police car before finally getting her medical attention. A man in the car was also wounded, and the other passenger was “taken into police custody,” according to news reports.

Police Concoct Story Full of Lies

Police claim they had received a “call of a suspicious vehicle.” Then they claimed that they wanted Diante Yarber “for questioning” in a stolen vehicle case. Then they claimed that the unarmed Yarber accelerated his car in reverse into the police.

All this is bullshit. The cops have produced no evidence to back up their claims. Diante was driving a car that belonged to his cousin, who was a passenger in it. The car had not been stolen, or reported stolen. He was going away from the cops, in reverse in a parking lot, when they unloaded their guns on him.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing Yarber’s family, wrote on his Facebook page that “Diante Yarber was profiled, stalked and murdered by Barstow PD officers. While waiting for one of his passengers to return from shopping at Walmart, Diante and his passengers were labeled ‘suspicious’ and targeted for harassment by the BPD. When officers, lacking reasonable suspicion for stopping Yarber in the first place, attempted to box his vehicle in, Yarber maneuvered his car around the police vehicles. Video footage of his car reversing slowly away from law enforcement was captured by a pedestrian, just before officers began to shoot into the vehicle. ... in a crowded parking lot, police officers decided to halt Yarber’s vehicle by unleashing over 30 rifle rounds in the windshield and driver side door.”

Brittany Chandler, mother of Yarber’s 19-month-old daughter, said, “The police took him away for no reason. The police should be held accountable for this… They are sick people for them to be able to shoot someone down in broad daylight.” Ruby Hawkins, Yarber’s sister, told the Guardian newspaper that Barstow police often targeted her brother. “They are the biggest criminals. They are bullies with badges ... I don’t know how you can fear for your life with a person that is moving away from you.”

Justice for Butchie!

On April 10 about 100 people rallied and marched in Barstow, a desert town about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, to protest the murder of Diante Yarber. Many people wore T-shirts with pictures of Diante, and carried signs saying “Justice for Butchie.” A woman who spoke at the rally in front of Barstow City Hall told the crowd, “We are here to say, Stop killing us!”

Alice Brown, a relative of Diante’s, said “There were no firearms found inside the car. Police still haven’t said what even led to them pulling him over in the first place. We need answers.” The cops who shot Diante Yarber have not been charged with anything as of this writing. All the cops at the scene of the cold-blooded murder have been put on “paid administrative leave.”

We Don’t Have to Continue Living This Way

In the past few weeks: Stephon Clark, gunned down by police in his grandmother’s yard in Sacramento. Saheed Vassell, shot and killed by cops on a street in Brooklyn. The police killers of Alton Sterling, murdered while selling CDs in Baton Rouge, not charged with any crime after a bullshit 21 month cover-up called an “investigation.” And now, in Barstow, Diante Yarber.

This kind of state-sanctioned murder is a 21st century continuation of the days of slave catching posses. The courts and their rulings that uphold the killer cops over and over and over are a 21st-century continuation of the Supreme Court ruling in 1857 that a Black man had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

It is unacceptable. People in Barstow are right to get in the streets, and people across the country need to get in the streets in protest of the police murder of Diante “Butchie” Yarber, and all the police murders of Black, Brown, and Native American youth.

As Carl Dix said recently at a Brooklyn rally protesting the murder of Saheed Vassell, “We cannot continue to live this way, and we don’t have to. There is another way. An important part of getting out of this madness means taking this fight against murder by police even higher, and joining the movement to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power before they are allowed to consolidate their fascist rule. And doing all this while digging into and getting organized for an actual revolution.”


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