This is the third of a string of shootings by the Albuquerque Police Department. Little is being done to investigate the issue.
Police brutality has been a major issue across the United States. The majority of victims of police brutality are racial minorities, who are often targets of violence through no fault of their own. Most recently, a man was shot and killed by an officer from the Albuquerque Police Department when they were supposed to conduct a simple welfare check, Albuquerque Journal reports. The two officers involved in the shooting are currently on paid administrative leave. A multi-agency task force, comprising the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police, and the Albuquerque Police Department is investigating the incident.
The shooting took place in a house east of Downtown on Monday afternoon earlier this week. As per eyewitness accounts, at least one Albuquerque Police Department officer was responsible for shooting and thus fatally injuring a man. According to APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina, two officers were sent to the 900 block of Edith SE, near Broadway and Coal around 1:15 pm. The officers were asked to check up on a man after his employer contacted the police department worried about his safety. They were supposed to ensure he was okay and report back to the department.
"They made contact with the individual," Deputy Chief Medina explained in a press briefing at the scene of the incident. "At this time, an altercation occurred between the officers and the individual, at which time at least one APD officer did discharge their firearm." Reportedly, the shooting took place inside the man's house. No other civilians were present in the household at the time. Medina stated that he did not know whether the man was armed with a gun or any other weapon during the altercation. No other information has been provided regarding the altercation itself. The Deputy Chief said, "We don’t have that information yet. They’re still working to process the scene. I don’t think they’ve even gone inside the house yet, the crime scene team."
After the shots were fired, the man was immediately taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Viola Roybal, a neighbor, explained that she heard three gunshots being fired at around 1:45 pm. She ran out at once. She claimed that she had not heard any commotion prior to that. "All I saw was cops coming from everywhere," the neighbor stated. "Then we saw the ambulance take the guy away." At present, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police, and the Albuquerque Police Department have come together to form a multi-agency task force. They are currently investigating the incident. Following the shooting, several of the victim's family members surrounded the scene south of the crime scene tape. They watched on as investigators moved in and out of the wrought-iron gate located at the front of the house.
Medina added that the task force has taken several precautions in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 as the investigation continues. He shared, "We briefed outside; we’re trying to maintain distance the best way we can." The Albuquerque Police Department is expected to hold a full media briefing once all officers and witnesses present at the scene of the crime have been interviewed. Any available video footage will be shared at that time. Sadly, this is the third in a string of shootings by APD officers in this year alone. On January 6, officers shot and killed Orlando Abeyta. Less than three weeks later, officers shot and injured Daniel Montoya. The officers involved in these shootings claimed they had reason to fire their guns, but there is no excuse for fatally shooting a civilian. It is time that the nation's police departments do more to prevent the brutal and mindless deaths of our citizens by the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve our communities.