Michigan cop charged after shooting a passenger during a high-speed chase

Mar 9, 2021 at 12:04 pm
Lowell Police Officer Jason Diaz. - Lowell Police Department
Lowell Police Department
Lowell Police Officer Jason Diaz.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office filed charges Monday against a Lowell police officer who is accused of shooting at a moving car during a high-speed chase and striking a passenger in the head.

Officer Jason Diaz, 40, was arraigned in Ionia County District Court on Tuesday on charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, misconduct in office by a public official, and careless discharge of a weapon causing injury. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The shooting occurred during a high-speed chase through Kent and Ionia counties on Aug. 29. The passenger survived.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also announced Tuesday that her office decided not to charge another officer in a separate police-involved shooting. Shelby Township Police Officer Jason Zuk shot and killed unarmed Kanwarbir Malhi in November 2018, who was driving a car that had been reported stolen the day before. When officers ordered Malhi to show his hands, he refused to comply and said he had a weapon, according to Nessel’s office.

About 10 minutes later, Malhi “made a sudden movement toward the front of his body,” prompting Zuk to shoot Malhi in the chest and neck.

Officers found no weapon on Malhi, who was pronounced dead at Beaumont Hospital. The car belonged to his mother.

“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,” Nessel’s office said in a news release.

Nessel's office took over the case in July after Macomb County prosecutors declined to file charges.

“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.”

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