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Jacob's Killing Represents the “Systemic illness in our Police Department”; Closing Arguments Made

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

On Friday, the City of San Jose and the attorney for the family of Jacob gave their closing arguments. This is the last opportunity the attorneys had to talk to the jury to demonstrate their case and review everything spoken about at trial.

Mr. Crowley gives his closing remarks on behalf of Jacob'a family

There is an elephant in the room. This is the argument from the family attorney, Mr. Crowley. The whole case presented by the City of San Jose is a distraction from the real reason we are here -- the roughly 20 seconds from Jacob’s car being stopped by the Covert Response Unit until Mike Pina fired his assault rifle twice. We have seen Mike Pina and his fellow cops, Ferguson and Lopez, create a synchronized lie about Jacob reaching down to grab a suspected gun that never existed. But as Mr. Crowley explained, “Ballistics is more accurate than human perception. Video is more accurate than human recollection.” The argument the city has brought forth defies the physical evidence. “The sweatshirt tells the truth that Pina shot Jacob with his hands up and lied about it” Crowley said referencing the physical evidence of the bullet hole on the under-part of jacob’s left sleeve that demonstrates that Jacob’s hands were up, at least up far enough for the bullet to travel through the window and go through the sleeve under his arm. Crowley confirmed that it is in fact excessive force when you shoot someone with their hands up and told the jury that this case is just a glimpse at the “systemic illness in our police department.” Below are excerpts from his remarks during his closing argument:

“Everyone agrees, even the defense witnesses (the city's witnesses): There is no imminent threat of death or great bodily injury justifying the use of lethal force when your hands are up with no weapons. This is the truth of this case, this is the essence of this case – everything else is a distraction to cover the lie.”

“The irrefutable truth in this case is simply that Michael Pina aimed his police assault rifle at the head of Jacob Dominguez and willfully and intentionally pulled the trigger twice without regard to the harm it would cause, killing him.”

“All of Pina’s numerous, varying explanations amount to nothing. Except the very first explanation he made the evening of the shooting when being examined by the DA’s agent and Internal Affairs of SJPD – that’s the one exception. When he said referring to Jacob Dominguez, ‘he just looks at me he leans back with his hands, looks at me and then I fire my weapon – that was the truth.’”

“David Balash, plaintiffs ballistics expert affirms that statement fits squarely within the ballistics and the evidence of this case. He says [the other statements] are just not possible. It has zero possibility. Everything else is a form of fabrication.”

“But the lie was adopted, the lie was promoted, the lie was believed because of Jacob Dominguez’s history.”

“Not only is it apparent that Michael Pina falsified the facts, fabricated a story - he’s been supported by his department.”

“I thought he was afraid, you know what he was? He was angry. He was angry with the history of Jacob Dominguez. He was angry for whatever reason of all the stuff Jacob Dominguez represented and he was going to take care of business.”

Recap of the City’s closing argument

The closing statement from the city of San Jose declared firmly that Officer Mike Pina acted reasonably and within the bounds of his training when he killed Jacob Dominguez. The city argued that an imminent threat worthy of lethal force was created when Jacob dropped his hands and reached down into his car. This is their argument: Mike Pina thought Jacob was reaching down for a gun. It doesn’t matter that there was in fact no gun present that day, the false information gathered from an unnamed confidential informant was enough proof to basically kill on sight. For the city, this movement from Jacob is also consistent with “impulsivity” and “violent” behavior - drugs caused Jacob to move his arms. Alleged drugs and verbal testimonies from the cops are the only assertions we have of Jacob dropping his hands. Body camera footage was not captured in full during the incident leaving us to just take their word that it happened. When referencing damages awarded to the family if Mike Pina was found liable, the City of San Jose argued that Jacob was not present with his family the day of and the few weeks leading to the fatal incident therefore he was not committed to his family and they (his wife and kids) did not deserve compensation for emotional damage or loss of a parent. The City attorney’s rhetoric in closing arguments were a continuation of the criminalization of Jacob and the undermining of his death and impact.

Reflecting on covering the arguments made by the City of San Jose in defense of Mike Pina

In reporting back what we, as community and supporters of Jacob’s family, have seen and heard in this civil trial, we have tried to be mindful to not uplift and over emphasize the City’s desperate arguments to justify Jacob’s murder. It is clear what they are arguing and in doing so, they have said incredibly harmful and disrespectful statements about Jacob and his character to the jury in front of Jacob’s wife, family and community. We want to expose what they are saying and how they are treating this family but not give any more life to what they say. This is a government agency. High paid police, high paid attorneys. The power dynamic between them and Jacob’s family has been and continues to be unbalanced. Their case is rooted in that imbalance. They are the police therefore if they say they thought he had a gun, it is permissible to shoot him. To think that a government institution goes to this extent to protect their own, instead of taking responsibility for this preventable tragedy, how is it possible to reconcile the role of this institution? We are Jacob’s community. We support Jacob’s family. We are not neutral. Nor do we want to be. And this site is made by Jacob’s family and community. We do not view the arguments from the City of San Jose as valid. If they viewed the actions of their own police officers objectively, Mike Pina would had been fired in 2017 after murdering Jacob.

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