Lawsuit filed against ex-Lowell officer who shot at car, hit teen

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A March 9, 2021 booking photo of Jason Diaz. (Courtesy: Ionia County Sheriff’s Office)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The teenager who was shot and injured by a then-Lowell police officer last year is suing the former officer, the police chief and the city.

The nine-page lawsuit filed in federal court Monday argues that Jason Diaz violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force and says the shooting constituted assault.

Diaz, of Wyoming, has already been charged criminally by Michigan Attorney General’s Office in the Aug. 29, 2020, shooting in Ionia County’s Boston Township that followed after a high-speed chase involving a stolen car. Body camera footage played in court in April showed Diaz raise his weapon as the car was sideways on the road, firing eight shots at it as it took off. The passenger, then 15 years old, sustained a graze to the back of the head and survived.

The civil lawsuit claims Chief Christopher Hurst and the city of Lowell didn’t properly train Diaz in the use of his weapon and didn’t properly investigate the shooting.

It argues the city “acted with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s constitutional rights by maintaining policies … that condoned and fostered Defendant Diaz’s complained-of conduct, and even cleared Diaz after an internal investigation of any wrongdoing, thereby cementing Lowell’s belief that Diaz acted in conformity with all policies … of Lowell and as trained by Lowell.”

The suit also questions why officers were comfortable muting their bodycam audio while discussing the shooting and why Diaz, who has a criminal history, was hired as a police officer in the first place.

It asks for damages but does not list a dollar amount.

If convicted of the criminal charges, Diaz could spend 10 years in prison. He resigned from the Lowell Police Department as charges were pending.

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