ACLU: Inquiry needed into BCSO shooting - Albuquerque Journal

ACLU: Inquiry needed into BCSO shooting

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is calling for an independent investigation into a fatal shooting by a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy last month.

BCSO held a news conference and released bodyworn camera video of the incident Tuesday. Video from Deputy Ronald Perez shows him ordering 18-year-old Elijah Riche to put his gun down and then – when he didn’t drop the gun and continued to run – shoot him. Riche can be seen holding an AR-15 pistol loosely at his side and then pointing toward the sky. He was running down the street in the direction of two other deputies, who were in their cruisers.

Riche was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Elijah Riche, 18 (BCSO)

The video prompted the ACLU to call for the state Attorney General’s Office to “conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident so that Riche’s family and community have an unbiased accounting of his tragic death.”

“The body-camera footage of the incident that led to Elijah Riche’s death appears to show BCSO Deputy Ronald Perez shooting Riche in the back,” Barron Jones, senior policy strategist at the ACLU, said in a statement. “While Riche is in possession of a gun, he does not appear to be holding it in a threatening manner or poised to fire.”

Jones asked for the agency to release the bodyworn camera footage from the two deputies who Riche was running toward. The Journal had received their videos Tuesday, but had not published them with the previous story since the shooting cannot be seen.

The videos show the deputies were in their cruisers at the time of the shooting.

A BCSO spokeswoman did not respond to questions about whether there were other videos showing the shooting or whether the agency would be open to an independent investigation.

In response to a question about whether the Attorney General’s Office will conduct an investigation, a spokeswoman said Hector Balderas’ office has been asking the legislature to make it so it can regularly investigate shootings by law enforcement.

“Currently the law provides that the District Attorney’s office has primary jurisdiction to review officer-involved shootings, although we are willing to provide assistance upon request,” said spokeswoman Jerri Mares in a statement. “The Attorney General’s office has repeatedly requested funding and the proper statutory changes from the legislature to thoroughly investigate and prosecute officer-involved shootings.”

The Nov. 26 incident was the second fatal shooting by BCSO this year. Tuesday night deputies shot and killed another person during a “physical altercation” in the course of a domestic violence call.

Albuquerque Police Department officers have shot nine people this year, four of whom were killed.

New Mexico has the highest rate of fatal shootings by police in the country, according to a Washington Post database. One hundred and thirty-eight people – 66 people per million – were killed by police since 2015.

“This fatal shooting, along with other recent officer-involved shootings, speaks to the need for statewide legislation for police use of force,” Jones said. “New Mexico currently ranks number one in the nation for people killed by police, making clear that our current laws governing use of force are failing to protect communities.”

Deputy Ronald Perez (BCSO)

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


Educators in NM rally amid growing teacher shortage
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed pay increases in an effort to attract educators to the state
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
An old face returns to City Hall
ABQnews Seeker
Keller appoints Griego as city's new ... Keller appoints Griego as city's new director of outreach and advocacy
I don't see traffic stops 2; driver's license redo
ABQnews Seeker
MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses
NM lawmakers launch another push for school of public ...
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal wasn't included in the initial ... Proposal wasn't included in the initial state spending package
Suit says deputy misconduct led to false detention
ABQnews Seeker
Man spent five months in jail ... Man spent five months in jail before his assault case was dismissed in Jan. '21
Always on duty
ABQnews Seeker
Museum traces the history of police ... Museum traces the history of police work in Albuquerque
BCSO: Man found shot to death in field on ...
ABQnews Seeker
A man was found shot to ... A man was found shot to death in a field on the west end of Gun Club SW on Sunday morning. At about 7:30 ...
Two shot in separate incidents Sunday, one fatally
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say one person is ... Albuquerque police say one person is in the hospital in critical condition after a shooting near Central and Coors early Sunday morning. Albuquerque Police ...