Jurors ended Friday without reaching a verdict in the high-profile, federal civil-rights trial of two Fresno police officers who are accused of fatally shooting a mentally ill woman who was armed with two large kitchen knives.
The jury of five men and three women deliberated two hours Friday in U.S. District Court after lawyers completed closing arguments.
They will return Monday to resume deliberations on whether the family’s claims that the city of Fresno and two officers violated Veronica Canter’s rights to be free of excessive force.
Jurors also will determine if the officers were negligent in her death.
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Canter, 48, was fatally shot shortly before 4 p.m. on March 7, 2014, after she locked her ex-boyfriend out of his apartment near Bulldog Stadium.
Officers Douglas Cox and Edward Louchren have testified that Louchren had to shoot Canter because she stood on top of a couch and was about to attack Cox with the knives. When the first two shots didn’t stop her, Louchren said he fired three more rounds because “she was going to kill Doug.”
San Francisco attorney Arturo Gonzalez, one of the attorneys representing Canter’s family, contends Canter never threatened the officers with the knives and that shooting her five times amounts to excessive force. He contends the two officers didn’t follow proper procedure when they kicked open the door, used a stun gun on her and then fatally shot her.
A key issue in the trial is whether the two officers knew Canter was mentally ill. The officers have testified that they didn’t suspect Canter to have mental illness.
But Gonzalez said any reasonable officer would have known Canter was mentally ill. Dispatch had informed the officers that Canter had “mental issues.”
Gonzalez also said Canter’s ex-boyfriend, Dag Lindbeck, had told Cox that Canter was “acting crazy and stupid.”