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Mom in Anaheim police shooting holds protest

Genevieve Huizar, mother of Manuel Diaz, who was shot and killed by police on July 21, 2012, holds a protest in front of the central courthouse in Santa Ana Thursday, March 21, 2013.
March 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The mother of a man killed by police in Anaheim held a protest after the officer who shot him was cleared of wrongdoing.

Genevieve Huizar's protest began about Thursday morning in front of the central courthouse in Santa Ana. It comes a day after officials decided not to press charges against Anaheim Police Officer Nick Bennallack.

Manuel Diaz, 25, was unarmed when he was shot last July. The Orange County District Attorney's Office said in its findings that officers recognized Diaz as a gang member who went by the nickname "Stomper." He and two other men started running when they saw officers approach. Investigators said Diaz ignored commands to stop and appeared to reach into his waistband as though grabbing for a weapon.

Bennallack said he feared for his life and the life of his partner and fired his weapon. Authorities say Diaz was shot twice, including once in the head. It was later determined Diaz was not armed. His cellphone was found nearby.

OCDA investigators interviewed nearly 50 witnesses. After examining all of the evidence, investigators found Bennallack's actions were justified and he acted in self-defense.

The incident, and another unrelated Anaheim police fatal officer-involved shooting the same weekend, sparked violent street protests in Anaheim that led to nearly 25 arrests and nearly 24 businesses being vandalized.

The Diaz family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city. Huizar and the family attorney say they are outraged and numbed by the OCDA findings. Diaz's mother believes Bennallack should be in jail and says she will continue to try to seek justice.


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