DA: Downey Police Acted Lawfully When Mistakenly Shooting Innocent Man
Almost exactly a year ago Michael Nida was fatally shot by Downey Police on a trip to pick up a pack of cigarettes for his wife. Yesterday a report from the District Attorney's office concluded that police acted lawfully when they shot and killed Nida in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.Police stopped Nida on October 22, 2011, because they thought he was an armed robbery suspect. He fled from police custody not once but twice. As he fled the second time, police Officer Steven Gilley fatally shot him. It turned out Nida was unarmed and not the suspect they were looking for. The shooting has sparked protests.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Sparagna wrote in her report obtained by City News Service:
"Responding officers, each in uniform and marked patrol cars, contained the area searching for a person they believed was an armed robbery suspect. Within 10 minutes, Officers Steven Gilley and Michael Powell detained Nida after he climbed over a cinder block wall into the alley behind Walgreens. Nida at first refused to obey their commands to show his hands and get on the ground."
The report continued:
"The officers did not have a chance to search Nida before he ran. Believing Nida was armed and dangerous, Gilley fired one three round burst from his MP5 killing Nida."
It concluded: "Given the rapidly evolving, dangerous situation that confronted Officer Gilley, we conclude that Officer Steven Gilley was justified in using deadly force to prevent Nida's escape."Nida's older sister, Terri Teramura, told City News Service that she wasn't surprised by the letter, but her family intends to continue fighting: Unfortunately, we were expecting that. We were hoping for a prosecution, of course. This is not going to deter our fight for justice for our brother."
A federal civil rights lawsuit stemming from the shooting is pending, CNS notes.