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Fatal Manteca PD shooting on web

Graphic 26-minute video of Duenez’ deadly encounter with police

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Fatal Manteca PD shooting on web

Ernest Duenez Jr. is shown being rushed to the hospital by emergency personnel following the fatal June 11, 2011 shooting in the 200 block of Flores Avenue.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED December 13, 2012 12:39 a.m.

OAKLAND – The video showing the death of a 34-year-old Manteca man at the hands of a police officer is about to go viral.

After 18 months of waiting, attorneys representing the family of Ernest Duenez Jr. – who was shot and killed during an exchange with Manteca Police on June 11, 2011 – finally released the dash cam video that they believe will prove that Officer John Moody used excessive force and that he and other officers failed to secure medical assistance in a timely manner.

And they’re using file-sharing sites like Dropbox to show people exactly how it all went down.

The release of the video was announced at a press conference at the Oakland office of civil rights attorney John Burris on Wednesday. It came just two days after a report from the San Joaquin County District Attorney was released that determined the shooting was “legally justified.” It was a determination that Burris – who just recently helped negotiate a settlement for the family of BART Police shooting victim Oscar Grant – took great issue with.

“We have communicated to the Department of Justice that this man (Moody) should be prosecuted for murder,” Burris said. “From our point of view this officer has been fully protected by numerous law enforcement communities. The Police Department ratified this conduct on the very first day as justifiable and the District Attorney’s office has come back as well and justified this conduct and retained an expert that raises real questions about his integrity and his independence in making certain assumptions.

“From our point of view it’s extraordinarily important that to the extent this type of police misconduct occurs that the officer not get a free ride in public from this. He should be held accountable just like anyone else would be held accountable when they engage in this kind of barbaric conduct.”

The video is accessible by going to http://www.sendspace.com/file/kl6njb and downloading it. A clip from the 26-minute footage has been posted as well on YouTube and can be viewed at this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlzNm1Pfwu4.

Still photos outlining the series of gunshots – 13 in all – were included in the District Attorney’s report prepared by the Forensic Video Analyst. The expert, Grant Fredericks, concluded that Moody likely missed the first two shots and hit him a total of seven times – stipulating that he is not a medical expert and can only guess based on what can be seen by slowing down the actual video.

An autopsy concluded that Duenez was struck a total of 11 times – once in the head, eight times in the trunk and twice in the extremities. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.

What Burris and associate Benjamin Nisenbaum are taking to the federal level are concerns that Moody shot an unarmed man – “laying in wait” outside of a home that they knew Duenez would be going to in order to make an arrest. They say the video does not clearly show the victim with a knife in his hand or explain how it could have gotten from the cab into the back of the truck where it was later found by officers.

The question centers on whether Duenez in fact had a knife in his possession when he attempted to climb out of the vehicle.

In one photo Fredericks concludes that Duenez in fact has a knife in his hand while in a separate photo declares that its “an object shaped consistent with a knife” – something that the family’s legal counsel sees as an attempt to justify an action that ended the life of Duenez.

“From our point of view and from the family’s point of view it’s important that everybody understand and knows that this shooting was woefully unjustified – it was an act of murder from our point of view,” Burris said. “It was a man who was innocently trying to get out of a car and he was shot multiple times and at no time did he engage in the aggressive physical acts that would have caused a reasonable police officer to believe that his life was in danger.

“This family seeks retribution. They want this man prosecuted for this conduct and I’m certainly going to do whatever we can with the Department of Justice as well as the US Attorney’s office to see if we can make that happen.”

The video shows that it wasn’t until after additional officers arrived on scene and attempted to move Duenez away from the vehicle that they realized his foot was caught in the seatbelt.

Hearing the gunshots and his brother gasping for air on the lawn of a relative’s house brought tears to the eyes of Gabe Duenez – who sat behind the television that showed the graphic video with the rest of his family.

Every Sunday Duenez is out on the corner of Center Street and Union Road with the rest of his family to protest what they consider to be a threat to the community – holding up banners and signs that proclaim that Moody is a “murderer.”

Letting the community know the truth, he said, will hopefully keep other people safe.

“He was murdered in cold blood, and that’s something that will always be in our mind,” he said. “And we have this trigger happy cop out there in Manteca and we want to make sure that they doesn’t happen to their family like it did to our brother.

“We want to keep our city safe and we don’t feel that it is with him out there.”

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