The widow of a man fatally shot by an undercover officer after a road rage encounter in east Charlotte sued the city and the cop on Friday.
Josue Javier Diaz, 28, was shot on Albemarle Road on Jan. 26, 2017. Police said Diaz’s truck sideswiped the officer’s unmarked vehicle, then stopped. Diaz got out of the car, police said, and fired a pistol at the officer and the officer fired back, striking him, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.
In May 2017, then-Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray said he wouldn’t seek charges against the officer.
“Diaz was armed with a firearm and aggressively approaching (the officer) when the officer fired his weapon,” Murray wrote in his finding, the Observer reported. “Consequently, (the officer) was completely justified in using deadly force to stop the attack and prevent his own death.”
Diaz was shot six times to the chest, abdomen and hand, all on the left side of his body, an autopsy report showed. Toxicology tests found cocaine in Diaz’s blood, the Observer reported last year.
In her lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, Christina Diaz said her husband “stepped out of his vehicle and began to speak to (the officer), stating he was ‘gonna tell’ (him) something.” Her husband “did not get an opportunity to finish trying to speak to “the officer),” she said in the suit.
Christina Diaz’s lawsuit quotes the officer as saying that as Diaz began speaking, Diaz “displayed a small gun, at which point (the officer immediately shot” him. The lawsuit said the officer “fired six rounds” at Diaz. The rounds struck her husband “in the left upper chest, left chest, left upper abdomen, left lower abdomen, left hand and left knee,“ Christina Diaz said in the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the officer was “negligent or grossly negligent” in that he “aggressively and recklessly pursued and rear-ended” Diaz’s vehicle in violation of “numerous” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department “guidelines, regulations and rules and N.C. vehicle laws.”
Mark Newbold, a lawyer for the police department, said in an email response to the Observer: “We will review the complaint and will respond shortly.”
Christina Diaz’s lawsuit said the officer, for instance, violated a written CMPD directive that police must operate “both blue lights and siren when engaged in emergency driving.”
The lawsuit said the officer also violated a CMPD directive that “if feasible, an officer will identify him or herself as a police officer and issue a verbal warning before using deadly force.”
The lawsuit said the city “failed to properly train” the officer. Filed by Charlotte lawyer J. Alexander Heroy, the lawsuit seeks at least $100,000.