It began as a normal evening with a group of couples. The wives had just completed their book club meeting, and their husbands joined the at the Loft Bar and Bistro for drinks. One of those couples was Marcos and Cindy Zuniga.
But the something happened. Zuniga’s nephew got into a fight with someone on the dance floor, and the group was ejected from the bar. A heated argument ensued outside, which Zuniga claims was prompted by a racist comment made by an employee. Then he walked away, he says, but by then the bar owner had summoned the police. The police ordered Zuniga to stop, and ordered him to face the wall. When she saw this, police claim, Cindy Zuniga splashed water in the officer’s face, and he stunned her with his taser—Cindy Zuniga denies throwing water at the police. As soon as Zuniga saw his wife tased, he allegedly lunged at the policeman, who shot him in the face in self-defense. The entire incident lasted just 47 seconds.
Now the Zunigas are suing the police for using excessive force and disfiguring Marcos Zuniga. The police, in turn, have charged Marcos Zuniga with battery and being under the influence of cocaine. All the parties appeared in court last week to make their cases before a jury. The jury will then be asked to decide, not only about the Zunigas, but also whether the SJPD is using excessive force, particularly against Latino residents. With the force facing severe budget cuts and searching for a new police chief, the trial could have far-reaching ramifications.
Read More at The Mercury News.