ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday says the sheriff has cultivated a culture of aggression among his deputies that condones “depraved behavior” and the use of force against people who are mentally disabled. Too few deputies are trained to interact with people dealing with mental health problems. And, as a result, deputies antagonize suspects, create dangerous situations and then use force unnecessarily.
Filed in state District Court on Monday, the suit alleges the July fatal shooting of 28-year-old Elisha Lucero by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies exemplifies these and other “failures” within the agency.
“This family is so devastated, and really the purpose of this litigation is to try to make our community safer for those families who have someone who is suffering from a mental health disability,” said attorney Shannon Kennedy, who filed the suit on behalf of Lucero’s estate. “What are they supposed to do? Do not call BCSO.”