Justified? APD Attacks & Shoots Man After Peaceful Surrender; Will Public Outcry Finally Drive Change?

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Update:  Read Reports from Salon.com and The Huffington Post about this story and our actions with the DOJ:

Salon.com: [March 24] Albuquerque cops assault and kill camping homeless man

Huffington Post: [March 24] Police Shoot Homeless Man During Camping Arrest (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

KRQE:  ABQ Mayor RJ Berry’s Says Chief’s Decision “a mistake”

That’s the conclusion Albuquerque’s new police chief came to after officers shot the 36-th person -24 fatal- in 38 months.

While the department has ruled every shooting justified, families, citizens and even judges have had a different opinion.

Read More: Judge rules 2010 death of Iraq vet by APD is ‘unjustified’

Read More: Justice Department Launches Investigation of the Albuquerque, N.M., Police Department’s Use of Force

A week ago, APD officers found a 38-year-old man camping in the foothills.  A man in mental crisis, he first threatened officers.  Then he agreed to surrender, gathered his things and began to walk towards officers as instructed.

That’s when an officer shouts “Do it!” and officers targeted him with a flash-bang grenade normally used in SWAT assaults.  He drops his things, steps back from the blast and pulls out two small knives he previously put away at officers’ request.

Then he turns away and they open fire with live rounds and a police dog.  He later died.

Watch the full video released from APD online at the Albuquerque Journal here.

Earlier this month, APD released lapel camera video of an officer shooting a carjacking suspect in the back after the suspect throws away a gun. [Video here]

When APD’s new chief, Gordon Eden, released a video from the scene he said the shooting was justified but nearly 100% of people who have seen the video say officers went overboard attacking a man who was peacefully surrendering. Worse, as he turned away he was shot and killed.

The Albuquerque Police Department has shot more people than the New York Police Department, an agency serving a city more than 16-times our size.

People want to know why Mayor Berry’s new chief, Gordon Eden, was so quick to clear officers in a shooting like this.

Just a few days ago, we brought you the story of new militarized “Shoot First” training implemented in January at the state law enforcement academy.

Read more: New militarized police training introduces “shoot first” policy for New Mexico cops

The new curriculum eliminated community policing and put more emphasis on shooting and physical tactics.  Gordon Eden was the Secretary of Public Safety when problem solving and community policing was replaced with “Shoot First” training for all of our state’s cops.

The US Department of Justice has been reviewing use of force incidents by the Albuquerque Police Department since November 2012.  At the time, the department had been involved in 25 shootings -17 fatal – in less than 2 years.  Since then the department has seen 11 more.

Watch the full video released from APD online at the Albuquerque Journal here.



Take Action.  Send a message to US Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to expedite the USDOJ’s inquiry into APD’s shootings and policies.  Albuquerque deserves an answer and help to restore trust and confidence in the leadership of our department.

Action AlertSend a message to US Attorney General Eric Holder here.