A civil lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed 25-year-old man shot and killed outside an apartment complex in July was amended Tuesday to include the name of the officer, Nick Bennalack.
Bennalack is a five-year veteran and former rookie of the year in the department. The department had withheld the officer's name, but Sgt. Bob Dunn confirmed for the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times that it was Bennalack who shot Manuel Diaz on July 21.
The very next night, Anaheim police shot and killed another man, Joel Acevedo, setting off four days of violent protests that resulted in smashed shop windows, dozens of arrests, and vociferous calls for more Latino representation in the city's leadership.
Police said Diaz, a reputed gang member with a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police.
Bennalack returned to duty less than two weeks later, after psychological examinations and a pair of preliminary investigations.
The family's $50 million lawsuit against the city and the department alleges federal civil rights violations, saying Diaz reacted "instinctively" when he fled, and that officers' use of force was "unjustified," "excessive," and "reckless."
"This man should note be on the streets carrying a gun," attorney Dana Douglas told the Times on Tuesday. "He is a violent cop, he belongs to a fight club, is nicknamed 'Buckshot' and he shot an unarmed man in the back of the head."
The head of Bennalack's union said Bennalack should not be removed until more is proved.
"In my opinion, he had no wrongdoing in the shooting and until otherwise proven, he should be back in the street," Anaheim Police Association President Kerry Condon told the Register.