More than 50 people marched Sunday from the driveway where Ernest Duenez Jr. was shot and killed by Manteca Police officer John Moody a year and two days ago across town to the Manteca Police Department where they demanded justice.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office has not completed its investigation into whether the shooting that occurred on June 8, 2011 in the 200 block of Flores Street near Doctors Hospital was justified or not.
The group carried numerous banners and signs down Yosemite Avenue with messages ranging from “No Justice, No Peace” with a reference to the Facebook.com/JusticeforErnest site to “One Year Later No Answers, DA Willett, Why?”
District Attorney James Willett told the Bulletin last week that the dash board video from Moody’s patrol unit - that recorded the confrontation and shooting - has been sent out to a private firm for enhancement. He expects to conclude the investigation to be completed in what he described as within “a couple of months”.
Sunday’s march stressed a desire for “answers, accountability for police brutality and justice for Ernest Duenez Jr.”
Leaflets handed out by marchers described what the 34-year-old’s parents saw when they viewed the video. Family attorney John Burris of Oakland obtained a copy of the video but is under court order not to show it to the general public but what the Duenez family and attorneys saw on the tape they are allowed to describe.
The leaflet contends the video shows Duenez unarmed and being shot when he had one hand on the door and the other on top of the pickup truck he was in at the time.
Their description indicated Duenez never got both feet on the ground but instead was struck down by bullets.
The leaflet states Duenez was shot, multiple times including in his face and back as he was falling.
The Duenez family description of what is on the tape goes on to indicate that Duenez was handcuffed, turned over, and stripped while the officer searched for the “so called knife” before any effort was made to help him.
The video is being cited by both attorneys for Deunez’ family and the Manteca Police as confirming their respective sides of what happened that June evening over a year ago.
Duenez’ attorney contends the 34-year-old was unarmed at the time he was shot. Burris in filings has indicated the video - of which he has seen - shows Deunez falling forward when he caught his right foot tangled in the seat belt of the pickup he was in that was in the driveway Burris said. An object reportedly videotaped flying from Duenez’s hand was a marijuana pipe.
Police contend the video shows Duenez moving toward Moody in a threatening manner after he was repeatedly told not to advance. Police contend the object flying from Duenez’ hand was a knife that was later found in the bed of the pickup truck.
While the matter hasn’t made it to the criminal court system and may never do so, it already has made it to the federal courts where a $25 million lawsuit has been filed against the city.
Several months ago a judge issued a restraining order against Gabe Deunez - brother of Ernest - to stay away from officers Moody and Armen Avakian after it was determined they were being harassed.