ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department’s training for officers, in particular in the area of dealing with people with mental health problems, went on trial Thursday in state District Court.
So did APD officer Byron “Trey” Economidy’s stop of a vehicle driven by an Iraq War veteran in January 2010 that led, ultimately, to another officer fatally shooting the man in the neck.
The broader context for the trial was a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Kenneth Ellis III. It began Thursday in state District Judge Shannon Bacon’s courtroom after lawyers spent most of this week wrangling over picking a jury and what evidence and testimony would be allowed.
Bacon last month granted a motion filed by attorneys for the Ellis family and ruled that APD Detective Brett Lampiris-Tremba’s shooting of Ellis in a convenience store parking lot at Eubank and Constitution NE was unlawful under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
That leaves the jury to decide how much money the city must pay the Ellis family. The 12 men and women must also decide whether APD was negligent in hiring Lampiris-Tremba, training him and keeping him on the force, as well as whether Economidy violated the Fourth Amendment when he stopped Ellis’ black Corvette.