[WATCH] Fresno Police Justified Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Freddy Centeno But Judge Disagrees

The daughter of Freddy Centeno, a mentally ill man fatally shot by two Fresno police officers two years ago, can move forward with her civil rights lawsuit because there is a dispute as to whether Centeno posed a threat to the officers, a judge has ruled.

Judge Dale A. Drozd ruled in U.S. District Court in Fresno that from the evidence “a reasonable jury could conclude that Mr. Centeno posed no threat to the safety of the officers or the public immediately before the defendants fired their weapons, and that the use of deadly force was unwarranted under the circumstances.”

The judge’s ruling on Aug. 30 is contrary to Police Chief Jerry Dyer’s assessment of the shooting. Dyer has insisted that the shooting was justified because officers Felipe Miguel Lucero and Zebulon Price believed Centeno was about to draw a black handgun from the pocket of his shorts.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has cleared the officers of wrongdoing, even though the black object in Centeno’s pocket turned out to be a garden hose nozzle.

In his 23-page ruling, Drozd rejected the city’s request to dismiss the lawsuit and, in doing so, picked apart Dyer’s and the city’s lawyers’ assessment of the shooting of Centeno in southeast Fresno on Sept. 3, 2015. Centeno died 23 days later.

The judge said police could have used alternative methods to arrest Centeno, such as taking cover and using a stun gun on him. If they had done that, they could have learned that “Centeno was carrying only a harmless spray nozzle,” the ruling says.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Kent Henderson of Tustin and Cristobal Galindo of Houston, who are seeking damages for excessive force and wrongful death on behalf of Channel Centeno.

For the full article visit: http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/crime/article171645017.html