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Family sues 5 APD officers, says civil rights violated

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Five Albuquerque police officers, including one who has been involved in three shootings in the line of duty, two of them fatal, have been hit with a lawsuit by a family that claims their civil rights were violated.

The lawsuit filed in federal court claims that, in pursuit of a man wanted on a felony warrant, officers Sean Wallace, Kevin Sanchez, Adrian Montoya, Michael Fisher and a detective identified in the civil complaint as D. Porter injured and humiliated Andrew Torres and his daughter and damaged the family’s car.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Torres, his daughter and another family member in August in state District Court in Bernalillo County and transferred to U.S. District Court on Wednesday. It names the officers and the city of Albuquerque as defendants.

On Thursday, APD spokeswoman Janet Blair said she was not familiar with the lawsuit and referred questions to the city attorney’s office.

The lawsuit claims in November 2013, Wallace and another officer developed the plan that involved staking out Torres’ West Side home where the wanted man, Emilio Marquez, visited but did not live.

It says officers saw Torres and Marquez drive away from the home and followed them to another neighborhood where the two men picked up Torres’ daughter.

As Torres, the driver, approached a Paseo del Norte intersection, Wallace’s black unmarked pickup truck suddenly stopped in front of Torres, and unmarked vehicles driven by the other officers then blocked Torres on the other three sides, damaging his car.

The officers made Torres and his daughter get out of the car, then handcuffed them and arrested Marquez, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims Torres and his daughter suffered injuries, humiliation and emotional distress and says the officers willfully deprived the plaintiffs of their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit is asking for compensatory and punitive damages in addition to attorney’s fees.

Wallace has shot three men in the line of duty, two fatally.

The most recent was in 2011, when he fatally shot Alan Gomez outside a Northeast Heights home, according to previous Journal reports.

Police said they believed Gomez was holding his brother and his brother’s girlfriend hostage, but Gomez was unarmed at the time he was shot. In December 2013, the city agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Gomez’s family.

Wallace received an “Outstanding Service” award for, among other things, exemplary community service, at an APD ceremony on Tuesday, which was closed to the media.

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