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Civil Suit Over Fatal Shooting Against Pinal Deputy Is Reinstated

A federal appeals court Tuesday reinstated a civil suit against a Pinal County deputy who shot and killed Manuel Longoria in 2014.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, says video evidence as well as testimony from other officers at the scene seriously undermines the claims by Pinal County Deputy Heath Rankin that he was justified in shooting Manuel Longoria twice in the back in 2014 after a traffic stop.

Tuesday's ruling does not mean that Longoria's relatives win the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against Rankin and the county; however, it gives them a chance to make their case to a jury.

The 23-page ruling, detailed why jurors might question Rankin's version of events and, if nothing else, Reinhardt said that evidence raises "material questions of fact about the reasonableness of Rankin's actions and the credibility of his justification of his conduct."

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Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.