U.S. District Judge James Selna on Monday ordered the Anaheim Police Department to hand over documents in a civil case involving a fatal shooting last summer.
The decision, however, had something for both sides.
Judge Selna also ruled that lawyers for the family of Manuel Diaz, who was shot by police after a chase, cannot interview former Anaheim officer Nick Bennallack until the Orange County District Attorney's criminal investigation is complete.
That’s because the officer’s Fifth Amendment rights in a potential criminal case could be jeopardized.
Twenty-five-year-old Diaz was shot and killed by Bennallack in July, sparking weeks of protests.
Dana Douglas, who represents the Diaz family, characterized the decision as a victory.
“Frankly, what officer Bennallack would give us is fairly predictable,” Douglas said. “What the judge did today was give us access to the myriad of police records and physical evidence that’s available. We feel that goes a long ways towards getting over the hump and getting justice for Mr. Diaz.”
Justice is exactly what Diaz’s mother, Genevieve Huizar, wants. Following the hearing she told reporters that months of legal wrangling have been difficult.
“It’s been very hard,” Huizar said. “It’s been hard over the holidays not having him with us. He was my only son.”
Huizar is hoping to not only win the family’s $50 million civil suit, but also that the District Attorney will file criminal charges against Officer Bennallack.
The D.A.'s office is expected to finish its investigation soon.