Civil case over 2012 fatal officer-involved shooting in Anaheim gets retrial

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- The mother of a man shot and killed by an Anaheim police officer in 2012 celebrated Tuesday after learning that her case against the city would be retried.

Genevieve Huizar sued the city and Officer Nick Bennallack, but lost the case. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Huizar be granted a new civil trial.

Her civil lawsuit claims that Bennallack used excessive force when he shot and killed Manuel Diaz after a short foot chase. Diaz was unarmed.

"Until I take my last breath. I'll fight for (Manuel). I remember him every single day. I cry for him," Huizar said.

Diaz's death, in part, set off a series of protests and riots in the city. The 9th Circuit Court overturned the jury's decision to clear the officer of wrongdoing. It said the information about Diaz's gang ties and drug use was inflammatory and irrelevant.

"It's not a decision of whether or not that officer used proper force - it will be solely on the facts and not on some bologna that the officers found after the shooting," Huizar's attorney, Humberto Guizar, said.

Officer Edgar Hampton, president of the Anaheim Police Officers' Association, said it is relevant because officers were in a gang neighborhood for directed enforcement.

"Officers have to make that split-second decision. If someone's reaching for their waistband, what are they reaching for?" Hampton said.

A spokesperson for the city issued the following statement:

While we respect the court's decision, we would have liked to have seen it brought to a close. The original jury decision reflected and acknowledged the complexity of situations that our officers face.

The new civil trial is expected to begin on Oct. 24.
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