Lawyer: Anaheim Residents Are More Afraid of Police Than Gangsters; Demands City Release Evidence in Cop Killing of Manuel Diaz

manuel diaz victim anaheim.jpg
Diaz holding a little girl.
Worried the City of Anaheim and local prosecutors are acting in collusion to protect a cop who fatally shot an unarmed Latino man in the back of head in July, lawyers for the estate of Manuel Diaz are hoping a federal judge on Monday will order the government to stop delaying document discovery in a $50 million civil rights lawsuit.
 
"Defendants have had almost five months already to shore up their defenses, while decedent's estate, decedent's mother and family and the public and the community sit by waiting and waiting to discover what really happened," wrote Bryan Cabrera, an attorney with Douglas, Lopez & Rumm, which is representing the estate. "There is no need to wait any longer and there is a compelling interest to allow discovery."

Lawyers for the city, however, argue that release of information to the plaintiffs will "jeopardize the legitimacy" of whatever conclusions the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) ultimately makes about the righteousness of the killing as well as abuse the constitutional rights of Nick Bennallack, the cop who fired the fatal shot.

"Allowing discovery in the civil litigation to proceed concurrent with a criminal investigation imposes substantial prejudice on the defendants and creates a situation where civil discovery will interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation," wrote Steven J. Rothans and Jill Williams, attorneys for the city.

Rothans and Williams want U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna to shield them from discovery until the OCDA, which probes officer involved shootings, officially closes its investigation and announces its findings.

The plaintiff lawyers say such a decision would hinder justice.

"Why should decedent's estate and the public sit back and wait any longer for find out what really happened?" wrote Cabrera. "The DA and the police are from the same camp, and every day that goes by is more time for the investigators to 'circle the wagons' and protect their own. This is not justice."

The police killing of Diaz and then additional killings sparked massive protests in Anaheim that garnered international media attention. Some citizens believe local cops are racists prone to shoot Latinos first and ask questions later. Police insist they only fire their weapons when they feel their lives are in jeopardy, even when their victim is unarmed and fleeing.

Cabrera also claims that police have "instilled fear" in witnesses to the Diaz killing and that tensions remain high in the city.

"As long as the facts are hidden, the likelihood for additional violence is heightened because members of the community are more afraid of the police than the gangs," Cabrera wrote in his  brief.

City lawyers say a delay of four months is reasonable and hope that's the ruling Selna makes inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana on Jan. 7.

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30 comments
ANAHEIM
ANAHEIM

IT SHOULD BE AN OPEN & CLOSE BOOK CASE! HOW DARE THEY AT ANY POINT ASSUME IT WAS JUSTIFIED............ FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO DONT LIVE IN ANAHEIM OR IN THE ANNA DRIVE RESIDENCE........ WHY EVEN SPEAK ON IT IF YOU HAVE NO CLUE AS WHAT HAD REALLY HAPPEND.

Whophantom
Whophantom

There needs to be a Federal/ACLU investigation of the OCSD also. Some of today's cops are psychos who think all people who they come across are gun toting  terrorists. In South OC, they approach you with a mindset of intimidation when in reality they are the ones who are afraid of the citizens they are suppose to protect & serve. They play to many video games, don't publicly interact with the community they serve and cater mostly to the City Manager & council.  It's a thankless & sometimes dangerous occupation but, they chose their career. I will not beat to their drum.  There is a lot of contempt in South OC of the OCSD.

smaugusta
smaugusta

The attorneys can ask for an order of protection, anyway. There is no reason to delay discovery to the plaintiffs.

abdullaali
abdullaali

thank you

شات عراقنا

منتدى عراقنا@danaruns 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

If the law enforcement community in Orange County, California is "instilling  fear" in witnesses to the Diaz killing and/or these mourning relatives then they have reached an additional low in policing and I thought I had personally witnessed the bottom a long time ago. 

I personally witnessed an OC law enforcement officer flee the scene of my attempted murder. But I consider this even more disgusting. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

One of the reasons I switched from using an IPOD Touch camera to using a Looxcie camera (mounted on my left ear)  was to prevent one of these officer's from taking a shot at me with the excuse of  "I thought the camera was xyz" BS. It works great and continues to reduce my criminal harassment by OC police 80-90% 


Gary Apodaca
Gary Apodaca

Most people that live in anaheim are from some sort of street gang so of course the residents are afraid of the police

Noah Flaum
Noah Flaum

It's a trick question! There is no difference between choice A and choice B!

ohmytegoddess
ohmytegoddess

Id like to know how this cop felt threatened. If the guy wasnt armed, and obviously wasnt even facing the cop. He was shot in the back of the head. how can you be a threat when you arnt even facing them.?? Orange county needs to start looking into who they are hiring to protect and serve. They have a bunch of vigilantes with badges taking matters into their own hands. Im sorry, taking matters into their hand, (singular) cuz the other hand has a gun in it and hes probably got it pointed at the back of your head!!!

Tracy Bingaman
Tracy Bingaman

Totally rational. My children will not be taught (as I was) that Mr Police Officer is a friend.

Dan Heredia
Dan Heredia

I would not trust any cop nowadays. They are not always right and many act above the law.

Bill Martin
Bill Martin

come on they protect disney like its god

Pete Bolin
Pete Bolin

Jack booted thugs...only second to Fullerton PD

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

I would be very interested to find out what it would take to get an ordinance passed in Orange County to make the keeping secret of these kinds of files and the POBOR illegal in this County. Too many acts of civil rights are allowed due to the shielding of information from the public about officers of suspect character and actions.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@Gary Apodaca That's was exactly the attitude of Stan Knee/Brad Gates/Mike Carona and company... why I was treated like an Hispanic gang member. The fact that I was risking my life on police engineering projects in Bogota, Colombia escaped these racist morons.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@paullucas714 - County or City Ordinances cannot supercede State Law.  I would say if you don't like the law (POBOR) change the law, but with Democrats and unions running the State chances of that happening are are slim and none.   

NGCoot
NGCoot

@ltpar - I agree with you here ltpar - shouldn't you then give back your pension? you arrogant bastard.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@ltpar @paullucas714 Lt Par I was afraid that may be the case (state law). It should be changed the POBOR is too often used to allow serious crimes committed by the police to go unanswered.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@NGCoot Didn't say I agreed with paullucas and I do not believe the POBOR should be repealed. The primary thing it does is protect the rank and file Officers from overzealous and out of control Supervisors and managers. It also protects Officers from unfounded harassment complaints from anti-establishment citizens. As far as misconduct and bad Officers, yes law enforcement has some, just as does any other profession. As a Police Manager, I never found the POBOR to impede my ability to adminster discipline where appropriate. The cooncept that POBOR allows serious crimes to go unpuniched is false, It merely lays out a framework for investigating and administering discipline which does not violate the rights of an Officer. Yes, I know it is shocking, but Officers have rights, just as you do. Most people who complain about POBOR haven't a clue about it, what it covers, or why it was implemented in the first place. Like I said before, if you don't like it, change the law. On my retirement, I worked thirty five years to get it and would still be working had a heart attack not taken me out of the game, so why should I give it up?

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