In April, an Iowa police officer shot and paralyzed a man because the subject appeared to be pursuing a deputy with a shotgun.
Waterloo police officer C.J. Nichols shot 44-year-old Marcelino Alvarez-Victoriano on April 7 after the latter displayed a pellet gun that resembled a shotgun at two Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies.
According to Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams, Nichols did not realize Alvarez-Victoriano was carrying a pellet gun until he shot him. A body camera footage showed Alvarez-Victoriano, who appeared to be chasing Black Hawk County Deputy Blake Dodd with a firearm.
Alvarez-Victoriano spent several weeks in the hospital after the encounter. He is now immobile from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury. His family has filed a lawsuit, claiming that the use of force was excessive and that the investigation was cloaked in secrecy.
In a review released on Friday, October 16, Williams said that the officers involved were not guilty of any misconduct. He further said that no rational officer could have concluded that the weapon was an air rifle. The Black Hawk County also presented in court several still images of Alvarez-Victoriano pursuing Dodd.
The incident started when a concerned citizen reported a man strolling with a long rifle into downtown Waterloo. Dodd arrived first and saw Alvarez-Victoriano, which possessed a weapon.
According to the report from The Associated Press, Alvarez-Victoriano took the weapon and approached Dodd, who took cover behind his vehicle. According to the investigation, Dodd yelled at Alvarez-Victoriano to put down the gun because he couldn’t understand him as he was speaking in Spanish.
Nichols arrived at the scene with another deputy and fired one shot that caused Alvarez-Victoriano to fall. Nichols reportedly fired another shot when Alvarez-Victoriano attempted to get up.
Alvarez-Victoriano was charged with misdemeanors in April for purportedly threatening deputies during the incident. Williams stated on Friday that he plans to continue those counts. However, authorities have yet to arrest him due to the care his paralysis would require.
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