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Complaint in Wrongful Death To Be Unsealed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state District Court judge has granted the Journal’s motion to unseal the first amended complaint from a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Iraq war veteran Kenneth Ellis III, who was fatally shot by an Albuquerque police officer in January 2010.

Judge Shannon Bacon delayed the effective date of her order to unseal until noon Friday, to allow the city of Albuquerque to file a motion establishing grounds to keep portions of the document confidential.

Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy said she will meet the deadline and ask Bacon to keep sealed information in the complaint that “we believe is exempt from disclosure by statute and by case law.”

Among the information that appears to be at issue are statements made by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba, who shot Ellis outside a convenience store, on his pre-employment application, said Journal attorney Charles Peifer.

Lampiris-Tremba has been cleared of wrongdoing by both APD Internal Affairs and a grand jury.

Attorneys for Ellis’ family named Lampiris-Tremba and another officer, who had pulled over the car Ellis was driving and allegedly pointed his gun at the car’s occupants.

During discovery in the lawsuit, the city objected to the attorneys’ request for copies of the officers’ IA and personnel files. But a judge ordered the city to produce the files, subject to the terms of a confidentiality agreement.

The family’s attorneys included additional allegations from the files in an amended complaint. Again, the city objected, so the attorneys agreed to file the complaint under a “conditional” seal.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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