Jury Rejects Claim of Excessive Force in Fatal Anaheim Police Shooting

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A federal court jury has rejected a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was shot to death by an Anaheim officer in 2012, an incident that resulted in days of violence and street protests.

The jury found that the force used against Manuel Diaz was not excessive or unreasonable, said Humberto Guizar, the attorney for Diaz’s family. The lawsuit against Anaheim and Officer Nicholas Bennallack sought damages of $3 million to $5 million.

The jury, which deliberated for about two hours before returning its verdict Thursday, found that Bennallack acted reasonably because jurors believed the area where Diaz lived was a gang area, said Guizar, who spoke with the jury after the verdict.

“That’s an indictment on the community and I thought we had come a long way,” Guizar said. “They denied him justice because of where he lived.”

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