Lowell, MI – An Ionia County circuit court judge dismissed charges against former Lowell Police Officer Jason Diaz on Thursday and said the officer was justified when he fired his weapon at a car driving at him.
The incident occurred on Aug. 29, 2020 when now-former Lowell Police Officer Jason Diaz became involved in a chase with a fleeing suspect, MLive reported.
After the high-speed chase through Kent and Ionia Counties, Officer Diaz allegedly fired eight shots at the suspect’s car, WOOD reported.
Lowell police said at the time that Officer Diaz fired at the car as it was driving at him.
One of the shots grazed a teenage passenger’s head but he was not seriously injured, WOOD reported.
Another passenger was shot in the arm.
Lowell Police Chief Chris Hurst said Officer Diaz, 40, was placed on paid administrative leave after the officer-involved shooting as is protocol while the incident is under investigation.
The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting, MLive reported.
The Michigan Fraternal Order of Police (FOO) said Officer Diaz was cleared of wrongdoing and put back on patrol a few weeks ago.
But that didn’t stop the Michigan attorney general from making it her personal mission to punish the officer for defending himself.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced charges against Officer Diaz in March.
He submitted his resignation the day before the charges against him were publicly announced, WOOD reported.
The attorney general said on March 9 that the now-former police officer broke the law and violated the Lowell Police Department’s use-of-force policy when he fired his weapon.
Nessel announced that former Officer Diaz had been charged with felony assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, a count of misconduct in office by a public official, and a count of weapons, careless discharge causing injury, MLive reported.
The first two charges carried a 10-year and 5-year sentence, respectively, if the former police officer were to be convicted.
Former Officer Diaz was arraigned in Ionia County Court before Magistrate David Wirth and released on a $5,000 bond later the same day, MLive reported.
“In our judicial system, everyone enters with the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in a court of law,” Mary Ann Sabo, a spokeswoman for the city of Lowell, said in a statement. “Although this individual is not currently employed by the city, pending the outcome of the case, he could reapply for a position in the department or with the city.”
The FOP stood behind the officer and said in a press release that the union would provide his criminal defense because the charges arose from the lawful performance of the officer’s duties.
On Dec. 9, Ionia County Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Hoseth-Kreeger dismissed both charges against former Officer Diaz, WZZM reported.
Hoseth-Kreeger said in her ruling that she had determined the former police officer’s actions were justified under the facts and circumstances of the case.
The former officer has not yet said whether he intended to try to get his job back at the Lowell Police Department.
He was a full-time officer for the Muskegon Heights Police Department before he started working for Lowell, WOOD reported.