Civil jury finds two San Jose police officers liable in 2016 shooting death

A federal court jury Tuesday found two San Jose police officers liable for the death of an 18-year-old back in 2016. The jury is recommending the city pay a $2.6 million settlement to the family of Anthony Nunez.  

Outside the federal courthouse in downtown San Jose, family members of 18-year-old Anthony Nunez embrace each another after a six-member civil jury found two San Jose police officers used excessive force when they shot and killed Nunez.

“I don't know how to put into words the feeling that we have,” said Nunez’s Aunt Sandy Sanchez. “It’s been three years of suffering, of crying, of hurting, sleepless nights, of not eating, just missing him.”

Back on July 4, 2016 outside his East San Jose home, Nunez had shot himself twice in the head with a revolver and survived. Officers fearing for their safety and the public’s safety shot Nunez after he refused to drop his gun and surrender.

The two officers were cleared of criminal charges by the district attorney’s office last year. During the two-week civil trial, key witness testimony raised doubt if Nunez threatened the officers before they opened fire.

“We see this as a sign that the community is no longer willing to allow officers to use force or kill people without being held accountable for doing it,” said the Nunez Family’s Attorney Adante Pointer.

In a statement, the city attorney’s office said, in part, “The city will be reviewing appellate options. The officers are experienced and acted in a manner that was consistent with their use of force.”

Paul Kelly of the San Jose Police Officer’s Association shared his disappointment. The family has said Nunez’s death proves officers need better mental health and crisis intervention training. Kelly said, that was not the case with this shooting.

“When it comes to having sympathies and emotions for a grieving family, totally understandable,” said Sgt. Kelly. “But, the jury made the decision to have that sympathy instead of the facts.”