ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department should never have hired Sean Wallace as an officer, because his previous career in law enforcement was “marred by fraud and by excessive force claims, including deadly force,” according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of an unarmed man Wallace fatally shot in May.
But the department was in the middle of a “concerted effort” to grow its ranks in April 2007, when Wallace came on board as a lateral hire from State Police. And APD officials undertook that effort at the peril of their own hiring standards, according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Mark and Joe Fine on behalf of Alan Gomez’s family.
Gomez was the third man Wallace had shot while wearing a police uniform.
Wallace, now a K-9 officer with APD, was a State Police officer when he shot and killed Leo Lopez of Chimayó in 2004. He was cleared by a grand jury, but the state paid $235,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.