Appeals Court Overturns Verdict in 2012 Anaheim Police Shooting of Unarmed Man

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Protesters gather in Anaheim in 2013, a year after police shot and killed Manuel Diaz. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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federal jury decision that absolved Anaheim police in a shooting of an unarmed man was influenced by inflammatory, graphic and irrelevant evidence and must be overturned, a federal appeals court decided unanimously Wednesday.

The decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals revived a civil rights lawsuit by the family of Manuel Diaz, 25, who was shot and killed in 2012 after running away from two Anaheim police officers.  The shooting sparked days of  violence and street protests.

“Police shootings are often the most difficult — and divisive — cases that our legal system and society encounter,” Judge John B. Owens wrote for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Wrapped in strong emotion and often opaque case law, they can perplex even our most experienced trial judges.”

The federal jury had returned a verdict in favor of police after six days of trial and only two hours of deliberation.

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