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Detective shooting case was handled properly

(The Dec. 15) editorial titled “Then-DA, APD chief let lieutenant walk in the shooting,” is as far off-base as can be, at least in regard to the District Attorney’s Office and the tragic incident of an APD officer being shot numerous times by his APD supervisor.

While the file and all of its contents are in the possession of the district attorney and the attorney general, what I recall is the following:

The (APD Lt. Greg) Brachle shooting of (Detective) Jacob Grant occurred in January 2015. It took almost a year for the completed reports to be forwarded to the DA’s Office from APD. Though the chief deputy (DA) who responded to the scene reviewed the case, I personally took it over when that chief deputy underwent treatment for cancer. Thereafter, I enlisted the help of another chief deputy, Chris Lackmann, to evaluate the case with me and decide on an appropriate course of action.

We consulted with a law enforcement expert who had spent almost 30 years studying and consulting on controlled drug buys, from a safety perspective for officers involved in such activities. We forwarded him the case file and had numerous contacts and discussions with him. When it looked like we would proceed to a preliminary hearing on the case, I consulted with John D’Amato, Brachle’s attorney, in pre-filing discussions and advised him we planned to move forward on potential charges of shooting at or from a motor vehicle, a second-degree felony, and aggravated battery with a firearm enhancement, a third-degree battery. During this time, I was also in continuous contact with Grant’s attorney, Alex Gabaldon. Further, we met with Sgt. Liz Thomson and several of her detectives from APD’s Homicide Unit to alert them we were headed toward the criminal prosecution of Brachle.

We were targeting August as the date to get the matter to a preliminary hearing, and Lackmann had been in contact with a judge to coordinate the timing. Unfortunately, in late June 2016, Lackmann died in his sleep, suddenly and unexpectedly. This was a tremendous loss to our office. With my many other responsibilities, I could not handle the prosecution alone, and I promptly requested that Attorney General Balderas take on the case. He agreed to do so. Copies of all the materials were forwarded to him, along with a cover letter I authored telling him about our plans to proceed to preliminary hearing on the above referenced charges. I never heard anything else regarding the case, nor did I receive any correspondence from AG Balderas advising me of his intentions or any decision that had been made.

I assure you, there was no foot-dragging in our handling of the case. In fact, quite the contrary. Though I suffered extreme repercussions for my decision to prosecute the officers in the (APD James) Boyd shooting, there was not the least bit of hesitation to move forward in this matter and do what we believed to be right and what the law supported. Furthermore, the statute of limitations had not and has not run on the charges we felt appropriate to proceed on.

I encourage you to contact the above named parties for corroboration of the above facts. As always, the facts may get in the way of a good story, but I think it is helpful for the public to know the truth, especially in a matter of this importance.

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