DA clears San Jose police officer for shooting death of man on Memorial Day

The Santa Clara County District Attorney has cleared an undercover San Jose police officer of shooting and killing a man on Memorial Day night after he approached his unmarked SUV with a gun in his hand, seemingly unaware he was confronting police who were conducting surveillance on him.

A report released Thursday from DA Jeff Rosen identified Anthony Baza as the officer who shot Demetrius Stanley as he opened the vehicle door.

Police said that Stanley had pointed a gun at undercover officers, putting them in a "deadly situation." 

Two officers had been doing some sort of follow-up investigation to an armed robbery on Tofts Drive near Flickinger Park and Interstate 680 and police allege that Stanley was involved. Police also said when they searched Stanley's family's home, they found five guns that had not been registered.

Community members rallied against his death, saying Stanley was a security guard and father who had been trying to turn his life around. They say Stanley had gone outside with a gun to protect his family, as the officers were in plain clothes, 

The Mercury News notes that DA’s report included a departure from the original police narrative two days after the shooting, which described the confrontation as escalating so quickly that the Baza did not have time to identify himself as a police officer. In the new report, prosecutors cite surveillance video as showing Baza saying, "Get the f*** out of here, police!" almost simultaneously with the moment he fired four shots at Stanley, hitting him twice.

Baza and a second officer, Hans Jorgenson — both working under the SJPD covert response unit — were staking out Stanley’s home in connection with an investigation in which Stanley was suspected of robbing a teenager of a replica gun in March. Police said they found Stanley carrying a loaded handgun during a traffic stop later that month. The May 31 surveillance, police and prosecutors said, was to set up an arrest later in the week.

Police also previously said the officers did not record body-camera footage because they intended to only conduct surveillance. But in the DA report, Baza told investigators that "he activated the camera immediately after the shooting."

Stanley’s death marked the second fatal police shooting of the year by San Jose police. 

On Jan. 21, three undercover officers shot and killed 27-year-old David Tovar in the courtyard of an apartment complex. 

Police said he was being sought in connection with a homicide in Gilroy and other violent attacks in South Santa Clara County. 

Tovar was unarmed at the time. 

Tovar’s family have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city; the DA’s formal report on that shooting has not been completed.