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AG Nessel Charges One Police Officer, Clears Another in Public Integrity Investigations
March 09, 2021
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the outcomes of two public integrity investigations related to police-involved shootings in Macomb and Ionia counties, with charges being filed against one officer and another being cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
“When I took office, I announced that this Department would focus special attention on officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths,” Nessel said. “These are challenging cases that require a careful and thoughtful review to ensure the trust of the parties involved and the confidence of the larger public in the process that we use. To meet that challenge, we are committed to conducting each review without pre-conceived notions or pre-determined outcomes. Instead, we will reach our conclusions by following the evidence – wherever it takes us.”
The Attorney General’s office filed charges Monday in Ionia County’s 64-A District Court against Lowell Police Officer Jason Diaz. After a high-speed chase through Kent and Ionia counties on Aug. 29, 2020, Diaz allegedly fired his weapon at the fleeing vehicle and struck a passenger in the head, causing injury. Diaz’s actions violated both the law and Lowell Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, the Attorney General’s complaint alleges.
Diaz, 40, of Wyoming was charged with:
- One count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, a 10-year felony;
- One count of misconduct in office by a public official, a five-year felony; and
- One count of weapons, careless discharge causing injury, a two-year high court misdemeanor.
Diaz was arraigned on the charges today before Magistrate David Wirth in Ionia County 64-A District Court. Bond was set at 10% of $50,000. He is scheduled for a probable cause conference at 1 p.m. March 22 and a preliminary exam at 1 p.m. March 29.
Following a comprehensive review of the evidence and circumstances of a police-involved shooting on Nov. 3, 2018, the Attorney General’s office determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Shelby Township Police Officer Jason Zuk with a crime.
Zuk responded to a call for back-up from another police officer who had located a vehicle that was reported stolen the day before. Kanwarbir Malhi, 25, of Shelby Township, was the driver of the vehicle, which belonged to his mother.
Following up on the stolen vehicle report, police saw Malhi driving the vehicle through the parking lot at the family’s apartment complex.
After he parked the vehicle, an officer at the scene approached the vehicle and gave Malhi multiple verbal commands to show his hands, but he did not comply. After back-up arrived, police repeatedly told Malhi to show his hands and exit the vehicle. They then asked Malhi if he had a weapon and stated that he did.
After about 10 minutes, Malhi exited the vehicle but made a sudden movement toward the front of his body, at which point Zuk fired a single shot from his department-issued shotgun, hitting Malhi in the chest and neck causing him to fall to the ground. Authorities at the scene immediately began rendering medical aid to Malhi and determined he did not have a weapon. Malhi was transported to Troy Beaumont Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Following a review of the video footage, testimony and other evidence, the Attorney General’s office determined Zuk acted under an honest and reasonable belief that he and other officers were in danger and no criminal charges will be filed.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Attorney General’s office does not provide photos of defendants, but one for Diaz may be available from the booking agency, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office.