This was our courtroom today. Anthony’s loved ones lined up outside San Jose’s Federal Court at 7:30am. More than 60 community members including the mothers, partners and aunties of others lost to San Jose police were inside Courtroom 8 by 8:45am. Besides our De-Bug family, there were other community organizations in support to hold space - like the NAACP Silicon Valley, the San Jose Human Rights Institute, and attorneys from the Santa Clara County Public Defenders. It was so packed, folding chairs were brought in to accommodate the folks still walking in for the 9am start of closing arguments.
The family’s attorneys went first. Mr. Pointer tells the jury how over the course of the last two weeks in getting to know each other and observing how they paid attention and took notes, he was now confident that he could hand over the case to them. This was his case that he carried for close to 3 years, and now he could hand over the pain and that loss of life that the family has endured.
The case, Mr. Pointer said was about the attitudes and actions of Officer Santos and Officer Vizzusi.
Officer Santos drew a line in the sand. He predetermined that if Anthony came back out of the house, he was going to shoot him even though Officer Santos’ position partially blocked his view of Anthony. The physical evidence, unbiased evidence proves Santos shot Anthony in the back.
Officer Vizzusi thought Anthony was a “bad guy,” when we are talking about a suicidal 18 year old boy who hadn’t harmed anyone other than himself. That perspective poisoned the entire interaction. Vizzusi determined this was taking too long and he was ready to use deadly force within 3 minutes of arriving on the scene.
The only independent third party witness whose statement was consistent with what was said on the first day was the neighbor, Mr. Thomas – someone without a stake in the claim.
The Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) that records all communication transmissions, doesn’t support the claims made by Vizzusi and Santos that Anthony twirled and pointed a gun. The CAD, unlike a witness, has no bias, no interest and doesn’t forget nor does its memory fade – it records in real time what is taking place on the scene. And at no point in the course of the incident does any officer on the scene communicate anything about Anthony twirling or pointing a gun. It doesn’t account for the imminent threat that the officers “created, fabricated, and hung your case on,” said Mr. Pointer.
He said this was the Defendants vs. Everybody -- the very individuals who have the motive to lie versus everyone else: other police officers, a civilian witness, the CAD report, surveillance video, and even the medical examiner. As autopsy photos of Anthony flash on the screen, it became too much to bear for Sandy, and she cried in ways only mothers cry. But Anthony's father Tony reaches through the table to hold her hand. For years Sandy has been the strong one. That moment, he became her rock.
"The verdict is the truth," says Mr. Pointer in the final piece of his closing. "Say the truth, speak the truth, that's what we've been enlisted to to do. We know the evidence supports the truth."
As the jury walks out to begin deliberations and the people in the courtroom stand up, Anthony’s father Tony Nunez and Sandy hold hands.