City settles excessive force case for $8M

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s been four years since Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by an APD officer in a 7-Eleven parking lot following a traffic stop.

Ellis had been holding a gun to his own head.

Now the legal battles between the city and Ellis family may have reached an end with a $7.95 million settlement.

The family says no amount of money can make up for what the officer did.

“He stole my nephew of his opportunity to know his dad and to do Boy Scouts with his dad and to play soccer,” said Jonelle Ellis. “Brett Lampiris-Tremba stole that from my nephew.”

The fight was expected to go on for years more.

A judge ruled the shooting was unlawful – a case of excessive force. A jury then awarded the family $10.3 million last March.

The city promised an appeal – but decided settling might be a better deal.

“It would have grown potentially exponentially if it were in the appellate court for two to three years if it were to go against the city of Albuquerque,” said city attorney David Tourek. “We did the save the taxpayers multi-millions of what was already reserved.”

Tourek says the city had reserved $11 million in its risk fund for this case.

The settlement might not be a significant savings – if any – for taxpayers.

The city hired private attorneys for the case. An attorney for the Ellis family says the city will have to pay the costs and fees associated with dragging it out in court – and it will likely cost more than what the jury awarded.

For the family, it’s a bitter end to a four-year legal battle.

“Is there a number that can replace my brother? No,” Jonelle said. “There’s no number that’s going to bring my brother back.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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