ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The ACLU-NM is calling on New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to conduct an independent investigation into the December shooting of a 16-year-old on the city’s westside.
On January 4, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) officials released details surrounding the December 2 shooting of 16-year-old Jesus Lopez. The body-worn camera footage shows APD officer Dillon Sather firing three shots at Lopez as he exited a westside residence. According to news reports, one of the bullets hit Lopez in the chest area and punctured one of his lungs.
Elaine Maestas, police accountability strategist at the ACLU of New Mexico, issued the following statement:
“The body-camera footage of the incident appears to show APD officer Dillon Sather shooting Lopez as he ran away from officers. Although Lopez was reportedly carrying two guns, it is clear from the video that he did not point either of the guns at the officers. Therefore it appears as though the deadly force the officer used was unnecessary and excessive.”
“Any time a child is shot and injured by police it is alarming. At the time of the shooting, Sather was only a month into his on-the-job training. This incident highlights how important it is for officers to adhere to the use of force and de-escalation policies the department implemented, in its effort to comply with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). APD has some of the best use of force and de-escalation policies in the nation. However, it is unfortunate that the department's leadership has had such a difficult time ensuring officers are being held accountable when they fail to follow those policies. If those policies were followed this tragedy could have been avoided.”