Fresno police released body-worn camera video of the fatal shooting of 33-year old Coy Jackson.
The six-minute video showed multiple angles and photographs of the March 18 incident at the southwest police station at Fresno and C streets. As a sergeant and officer parked their patrol cars shortly after 11 p.m., they observed Jackson at the gate.
The sergeant and officer approached Jackson and asked him to show his hands, which were in his pockets. Jackson informed the officers he had a knife, but did not immediately comply with commands to take his hands out of his pocket nor lay on the ground.
A corporal inside the building then joined the two others. The officers drew and pointed their guns at Jackson.
The officers proceeded to yell safety instructions to nearby shoppers — the police station shares a parking lot with several retail locations — to retreat into the FoodMaxx grocery store.
Jackson Ignored Orders to Drop His Knife
Jackson showed the officers his knife and ignored several commands to drop the weapon. He continued to walk toward the officers.
“Get back! Dude, you’re going to get shot. Get back!” one is heard yelling at Jackson.
It appears Jackson took three more steps before he was shot several times. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The video showed Jackson holding a knife with a five-inch blade as he dropped to the ground.
Fresno police say the incident is being reviewed by the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, Internal Affairs, and the Office of Independent Review.
What Chief Said at the Time
A Fresno police public information officer said Friday that the department would not comment on the video.
On March 20, two days after the fatal officer-involved shooting, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama spoke with the media.
Balderrama said Jackson was too close for less lethal options to be properly deployed.
“Police officers do have additional less lethal options at certain distances. Once Mr. Jackson closed the distance and was too close to them and made an aggressive movement, they were forced to use their weapons. None of them wanted to shoot somebody. None of them wanted to kill anybody that night. What they wanted to do was go home to their families,” Balderrama said.
The video shows how far apart Jackson and the officers were, but does not reveal the actual distance.
A general rule is that a knife-wielding suspect can travel 21 feet before an officer has a chance to deploy a weapon.
Balderrama said the distance was less than 21 feet.
Jackson’s relatives spoke to the media after the shooting. They said he suffered from mental illness.
Balderrama criticized the lack of services provided to Jackson.
“The fact of the matter is, is that the system let this person down. This is an individual with an extensive history of not just mental health issues, but also some drug abuse. You know, he had a condition that he tried to get help for, and he didn’t,” Balderrama said.
Jackson’s Criminal History
Fresno County court records show Jackson was charged with at least four felony and one misdemeanor counts from 2016 to 2021.
Jackson was sentenced to incarceration for a 2016 vandalism charge, a 2019 arson charge, and a 2021 fleeing officer/reckless driving charge. How much time Jackson actually served is unclear.
Court documents state that Jackson “lacks capacity to make decisions regarding antipsychotic medication, the defendant’s mental disorder requires medical treatment with antipsychotic medication, and, if the defendant’s mental disorder is not treated with antipsychotic medications, it is probable that serious harm to the physical or mental health of the patient will result.”