Los Banos officer used ‘unreasonable force’ in shooting death of man, jury says

Local News

This month a jury in Sacramento found that a Los Banos Police officer used “unreasonable force” in the shooting death of a Los Banos man in 2013, the Police Department said Friday.

The jury’s verdict was rendered on Aug. 15.

The shooting occurred on Sept. 2, 2013 when police were called to a residence regarding the assault of an 80-year old man, the Police Department said.

The victim said he had been assaulted by his 43-year old son at his residence where the victim and son both lived.

Officer Jairo Acosta responded and while conducting his investigation inside the home, the son, armed
with a pair of scissors, attacked Acosta, stabbing him in his left arm causing an injury, the Police Department said.

Acosta drew his firearm and a struggle ensued over the firearm.

The Police Department said that Acosta feared for his safety and discharged his weapon twice, striking the suspect in the left leg and the chest.

Emergency medical personnel were called to the scene and rendered first aid to the suspect who
was later airlifted to a Modesto area hospital. He died during surgery.

Acosta was treated for an injury to his left arm at a local hospital and later released.

In court the jury found that the officer was stabbed in the arm as he fired a round striking the
suspect’s leg but the jury was unclear as to whether the officer was under immediate threat when he
fired the second round — the round that caused the suspects death, the Police Department said.

The jury awarded $2.75 million in damages to the family, but assessed no punitive damages against the officer, the Police Department said.

The jury also found that the suspect was comparatively at fault for attacking the officer initially, which will reduce the final verdict by 30 percent, the Police Department said.

The Police Department said Friday that they “respectfully disagree with the verdict and stand by Officer Acosta and believe that he acted in self-defense in his use of lethal force during a sequence of events that lasted less than a minute.”

An appeal will be filed on the verdict and until the appeal is concluded, no further information will be released, the Police Department said.

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