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The ruling was in line with what she believed happened to her father in a police interrogation room five years ago. The court also took into account almost all forensic evidence presented by her legal team.

But when the Yokohama District Court ruled Friday that her father was shot to death by a police officer on Nov. 8, 1997, the 27-year-old magazine editor still could not believe it.

“When the judge said it was a police officer who killed my father, I could not believe that the court had listened to claims by an average citizen over those by police,” the daughter, who asked not to be named, told The Japan Times on Tuesday.

“I was pleased by the court’s brave ruling, but soon began feeling vexed by the thought that cops killed my father.”

In an unprecedented ruling, the district court ordered the Kanagawa Prefectural Government to pay 5 million yen in compensation to the daughter of a 55-year-old money lender, who was shot to death by a police officer during an interrogation at the Tobe police station, in Yokohama’s Nishi Ward. Police insisted that the man killed himself — snatching a bullet and gun presented on a table as evidence in the interrogation room and shooting himself in front of the sergeant. The court, however, dismissed the claim as difficult to believe.

“I had an appointment to visit my father two days later, and even police officers admitted that he appeared to be happy that I was coming,” she said. “Besides, my dad is a type of person who would run away with the gun rather than kill himself.”

Her father was widely known in Yokohama’s underworld circles and spent a total of 16 years in prison in Japan and Hong Kong for illegal use and smuggling of firearms.

“But to me, he was a great father,” said the daughter, who didn’t meet him until she was 11 because he was in jail in Hong Kong.

In Friday’s ruling, the court also criticized the police for conducting a partial and unfair investigation into the case and destroying or distorting evidence to support their unrealistic claims.

The plaintiff’s lawyers accused prefectural police of hiding information crucial to the case, such as detailed autopsy reports.

The daughter said police maintained evasive and insincere attitudes from the very beginning, often refusing to explain what happened. Details of their explanation also changed markedly over time, she added.

While the Kanagawa Prefectural Government appealed the case to a higher court Monday, the daughter said she hopes the defendant’s side alters its attitude and fully cooperates with the Tokyo High Court in unveiling what actually happened.

In response to Friday’s ruling, lawyers representing the victim’s daughter said they have decided to file a request with a local Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution sometime next year to re-examine the case.

In 2000, the daughter filed a request with the Yokohama District Prosecutor’s Office to charge police officers involved in the case. Prosecutors, however, dropped the case, explaining that they could not detect any evidence of a crime through their interrogation of the officers.

“Police and prosecutors are very close partners in Japan, making it very difficult to unveil crimes involving police officers through criminal trials,” said Lawyer Tsuneo Murata, head of the plaintiff’s team. “It is not as easy for prosecutors to dismiss our request after the brave and convincing court ruling.”

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