Yesterday attorneys for the family of Ernesto Duenez Jr. released graphic camera footage of the 34-year-old being fatally shot by Oakland police officer James Moody back in June 2011.
The patrol car’s dash cam recorded the incident in which Officer Moody ordered Duenez to get out of a truck in which he was a passenger. Duenez was wanted in connection with an incident of domestic-violence reported earlier the same day and officers has been stalking out the house for some hours. On exiting the vehicle Duenez was seen leaning back towards the cab. Attorneys for his family say his foot had become stuck in the seat belt and he was simply trying to free himself. The Manteca officer yelled at Duenez to put his hands up and “drop the knife now.” He can also be heard yelling "Hands up! Hands up, Ernie! Don't you move, Ernie, don't you move or I'll shoot you!" Moody then proceeded to fire 13 bullets in 4.2 seconds, 11 of which struck Duenez, including four once he was already on the ground. The victim’s wife can be seen running out of the house, screaming at the officer and subsequently crying over her husband’s body.
An 8-inch “throwing knife” was found in the bed of Duenez’s vehicle however experts at the district attorneys office could not explain how the knife could have initially been seen and later end up in the truck bed. The family's attorneys claim that in the released footage Duenez is not seen carrying a weapon, and can also be seen struggling with his seatbelt on exit from the vehicle. Moody claims he saw a knife in Duenez's right hand and believed the suspect might charge him or throw it at him. San Joaquin Country District Attorney’s Office determined on Tuesday that Moody’s shooting was justified, but the video evidence was not released until after the decision had been called. Duenez’s family are now seeking federal prosecution on the back of the tape’s release.
Following his clearing on Tuesday Officer James Moody is back on active duty.