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Suit Filed Against Officer, City in Shooting

Times Staff Writer

A man who was shot by a plainclothes Anaheim police officer in the Crystal Cathedral parking lot has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the officer and the city.

Jeffrey Santelli contends that Officer Scott McManus was negligent when he shot him twice in the stomach Feb. 20, and that the city is at fault for hiring and retaining a “rogue” cop with a history of brutality, according to the lawsuit filed by his attorney late last week in Orange County Superior Court.

Santelli, 32, says the episode left him with bullet fragments near his spine. The incident also traumatized his mother, church worker Maureen Winer, who witnessed the shooting through her car’s rearview mirror, the suit alleges.

He and his mother are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, including medical expenses and wage losses.

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Anaheim officials declined to comment Monday, saying they had not yet been served with the complaint. McManus, who was the target of a brutality lawsuit in 1997 that the city settled for $90,000, could not be reached.

The shooting occurred after Santelli drove to the Crystal Cathedral parking lot in Garden Grove to bring a credit card to his mother.

At the time of the shooting, McManus was part of a six-member unit conducting surveillance of suspected gang members in the area, police said. The uncover officer saw Santelli driving erratically and followed him into the parking lot, where an altercation ensued, according to a police account.

In his complaint, Santelli contends that after he gave his mother the credit card, he walked around her car after hearing someone yelling, and saw a man dressed in shorts, standing near an unmarked sport utility vehicle.

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The shooting is under investigation by the Orange County district attorney’s office. Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez said an internal-affairs investigation is on hold until the district attorney’s probe is complete.


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