Cop Executes Man in Just a Second After Telling Him to Raise Hands

Elizabeth Warmerdam | Courthouse News Service

PASADENA, Calif. (CN) — The Ninth Circuit ruled Friday that an Orange County police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man suspected of stealing an ex-girlfriend’s cellphone is not entitled to immunity.

The ruling means that Tustin Police Officer Osvaldo Villarreal will have to face a jury on civil rights claims brought by the family of 31-year-old Benny Herrera, whom Villarreal killed during an investigatory stop on Dec. 17, 2011.

“It has long been clear that ‘[a] police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead,'” Circuit Judge William Fletcher wrote for the three-judge panel.

Dale Galipo, attorney for Herrera’s family, said that court made the right decision.

“I think in general the judges on the court of appeals are seeing a lot of shootings of unarmed people and they are essentially deciding that these cases need to be decided by juries, not taken away from juries on claims of qualified immunity,” he told Courthouse News.

The incident leading to the lawsuit began when Herrera’s ex-girlfriend, Hilda Ramirez, called 911 to report that Herrera had stolen her cellphone and hit her in the head. She told the dispatcher that Herrera did not have a weapon and had never been violent with her before.

Villarreal and Officer Brian Miali responded to the 911 call and learned from the dispatcher that Herrera was on parole for drug possession and possibly had a traffic warrant out for his arrest.

On the way to the ex-girlfriend’s residence, Miali saw Herrera walking on the road with his right hand in his pocket. An attempt to stop him resulted in Herrera moving toward the middle of the street. Miali drew his gun and kept driving forward slowly, with Herrera walking ahead of him.

Villarreal arrived and drove his patrol car up beside Herrera, slightly in front of Miali’s car, in an attempt to box in Herrera and cut off any avenue of escape.

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  • itstherecit

    this murderous incident occurred nearly 5 years ago…what has happened since…it would be interesting to know….

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