Yesterday, the OC District Attorney cleared Anaheim Police Officer Nick Bennallack of any wrong-doing in the July 2012 shooting of gang member Manuel “Stomper” Diaz.
The OC Register reports:
Officer Nick Bennallack was on a gang-enforcement patrol in the Anna Drive neighborhood on the afternoon of July 21 when he pulled up to a small group of men. Manuel Diaz, 25, a convicted gang member, ran, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office concluded.
The officers gave chase, down an alley and into the front yard of an apartment house. There, Bennallack fired two shots, one hitting Diaz in the back-right side of his head, the other hitting him in his right buttock, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
The police association said shortly after the shooting that officers saw Diaz pull something from his waistband and turn. Diaz was found to be unarmed; investigators found a cellphone registered to Diaz, as well as the two spent ammunition cartridges from Bennallack’s gun and a drug pipe at the scene, the District Attorney’s Office said.
You can read the letter from the D.A. office here.
Any loss of human life is terrible, but let’s be candid: living the life of a violent criminal gang member carries with it certain risks, including being shot by the police. The D.A.’s concluson is not surprising and good news.
This illustrates, in my opinion, how a citizens police oversight commission is superfluous. Does anyone think such a civilian body would have done a better job of investigating this shooting, or arrived at a different conclusion?
If the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections provides any guide, its more likely an oversight committee would be home to one or more “community activists” with an ingrained bias to view the police as brutish oppressors of the underclass, and who would exploit that perch to rabble-rouse and demand “justice” even as investigation(s) are ongoing.