Albuquerque Journal Special Report
DOJ Investigation of APD
Federal officials have found that APD violates citizens’ rights with excessive force. Read the full findings here.
Cost to the city
Police misconduct lawsuits since 2010 have resulted in a tab of $23 million for Albuquerque taxpayers. The number will likely increase as several suits are ongoing and recent officer-involved incidents may result in new lawsuits being filed.
Included in the $23 million figure is a $7.95 million settlement with the family of Iraq War veteran Kenneth Ellis III, who was fatally shot in the neck by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba while holding a gun to his own head. The settlement came after a jury awarded $10.3 million to the the family and the city appealed. The judgement was one of the largest against the city in its history.
Another high-profile case was settled in mid-December 2013, when the city agreed to pay $900,000 to the family of Alan Gomez. Gomez was shot by officer Sean Wallace after the girlfriend of Gomez’s brother called police asking for assistance. 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. The shooting was Wallace’s third in the line of duty.
A lawsuit that is still ongoing involves the fatal shooting of Christopher Torres, who had a history of mental illness and was shot three times in the back at close range in the backyard of his parents Albuquerque home. Torres was the son of Deputy Bernalillo County Manager Renetta Torres.
City Council President Ken Sanchez said the city should consider earmarking more money for the fund that handles legal claims. “This isn’t the last of it,” Sanchez said. “I don’t see how we cannot put additional money in there, based on the amount of these settlements.”
The accompanying slideshow highlights the cases that have been closed since 2010. For a full list of settlements at the time the DOJ announced its findings, click here.
ABQ Police Shootings
- 1/29/10: Officer Sean Wallace shoots Wayne Cordova
- 3/4/10: Officer Roger Legendre shoots at Jose Castillo
- 4/14/10: Officer Zach Stephenson shoots Benjamin Marquez
- 9/14/10: Officer Leah Kelly shoots Chandler Barr
- 11/11/10: Officer Brian Pitzer shoots Russell Tenorio
- 6/26/11: Officer Damian Lujan shoots Orlando Paisano
- 4/19/12: Officer Mike Hill shoots Dennis Aragon
- 6/20/12: Officer Drew Bader shoots at Santiago Chavez
- 8/6/12: Sgt. Jason Peck shoots Dominick Solis-Mora
- 10/28/13: Officer Brian Pitzer shoots Joaquin Ortega
- 11/15/13: Officer Peter Romero shoots Robert Garcia, Sr.
- 12/1/13: Officers Luke McPeek, David Munoz and Jim Edison shoot Shane Sherrill
- 1/9/14: Detective Russell Carter shoots at Jeremy Robertson’s tires