From [HERE] The family of a Fresno man shot and killed by police three years ago can move forward with a civil rights lawsuit that accuses the Fresno Police Department of excessive force and negligent wrongful death, a federal judge ruled this week.
In making his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii said a jury must decide whether officer Trevor Shipman was justified in shooting Casimero “Shane” Casillas outside an east Fresno home in September 2015.
Police contend Shipman feared for his life because Casillas was about to strike the officer with a metal pipe. Shipman fired three times, mortally wounding Casillas.
But Ishii said Shipman and police officers made contradictory statements about the shooting, including whether Casillas put Shipman in danger.
For example, the ruling says Shipman said “he ordered Casillas to halt his approach, yelling at the top of his lungs.” But two police officers and two bystanders who were near where Casillas was shot never reported hearing Shipman’s commands, the ruling says.
Shipman also said “Casillas held the pipe at chest level.” But two officers said Casillas had the pipe down by his side, the ruling says.
In addition, Shipman said Casillas rushed toward him. But other officers said Casillas moved slowly.
“The court cannot ignore the possibility that Officer Shipman’s testimony may be self-serving,” the ruling says. The officers’ contradictions, the ruling says, “raise genuine issues of material fact as to the kind of threat Casillas posed to Officer Shipman. “