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Anaheim Cop Justified in Fatally Shooting Man in the Back, Says DA

A line of police officers protect Anaheim City Hall during demonstrations to show outrage for the fatal shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz, 25, at Anaheim City Hall on July 24, 2012(Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)
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The Anaheim police officer who fatally shot a 25-year-old man in the back last summer will not face charges, after Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced today the officer was justified in his actions.

Officer Nick Bennallack fired at Manuel Diaz on July 21, 2012 in the 600 block of North Anna Drive. The killing ignited a controversy in Anaheim, inciting tremendous--and often violent--community response.

In the aftermath of Diaz's shooting, video captured images of Anaheim police firing rubber bullets into a crowd full of men, women and young children. A police dog was released on the crowd and it can be seen attacking residents (police claim the dog escaped by accident). Several days of protest followed.

Police said Diaz and his two companions ran when they were approached by officers, reports City News Service. "The police association later said officers saw Diaz pull something from his waistband and turn," notes the OC Register. Additionally, police claimed Diaz was a documented gang member from Santa Ana, an allegation his family has denied. His family has filed a $50 million wrongful death suit against Bennallack and the city of Anaheim.

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For his part, Bennallack was cleared late last year of criminal wrongdoing in the unrelated shooting of Bernie Villegas. Villegas' family has also filed suit against Bennallack and the city.

The Anaheim PD came under fire from the public last summer for the number of officer-involved-shootings that took place. In fact, officers fatally shot another man the day after Diaz was killed, 21-year-old Joel Mathew Acevedo. A few days later, they shot at 36-year-old Abel Frank Armenta; Armenta survived and was arrested.

Video: Watch The Immediate Aftermath Of The Officer-Involved Shooting in Anaheim (Graphic)
Photos: Anaheim Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Pepper Balls On Angry Crowd Protesting Officer-Involved Shooting
Manuel Diaz' Mother Calls for End to Violent Protests