A federal jury has cleared Anaheim Police Officer Nick Bennallack of using excessive force in the fatal 2012 shooting of Manuel Diaz on Anna Drive. The shooting incident helped spark a night of rioting in downtown Anaheim. From the OC Register:
One of the jurors said that on Anna Drive, where the shooting happened, police could reasonably expect that a man dressed like a gang member and running from them could have a gun. The neighborhood is claimed by an Anaheim gang that was at the center of a multiagency firearms and narcotics investigation.
The jury was instructed to focus only on what Officer Nick Bennallack knew at the time he pulled the trigger, and jury foreman Mark Ross said that was key to deciding the case. The context of the shooting made it reasonable for Bennallack to believe his life and the lives of others were in danger, he said.
“He stated that he was in fear for his life,” Ross said. “You have to look at the totality of everything. How things transpired from beginning to end.”
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