Investigator never interviewed witness in Torres case

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department took a grilling in day three of the lawsuit over the shooting of Christopher Torres, a man who suffered with a mental illness and was killed in his own backyard by two cops in plain clothes.

On Wednesday, the lead detective in the case testified she didn’t interview Officer C.J. Brown, the APD officer who pulled the trigger, until the next day. Officer Paige Lavilla also said she didn’t request to see the officers’ camera hardware after they said there was no video of the incident.

Brown and his partner Richard Hilger entered Christopher Torres’ backyard to arrest him in a road rage case in 2011. Brown shot Torres three times during a struggle.

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Lavilla also admitted that she failed to interview the only eyewitness – the next-door neighbor who saw part of the struggle from over her fence, and who later testified that Torres never grabbed Hilger’s gun like the officers claim.

“There was a 911 call made by the backyard neighbor Christie Apodaca?” Torres family attorney Randi McGinn asked Lavilla as she took the stand.

“Yes.”

“She was never interviewed by APD?” McGinn said.

“That’s right.”

Lavilla also acknowledged it was her job to contact her as part of the investigation, but did not explain why she didn’t.

McGinn later asked her about the title of the investigative report she turned in.

“Will you tell the court what the offense was?” McGinn asked.

“Aggravated battery on a police officer,” Lavilla read from the title of the report.

“I’m sorry, aggravated battery on a police officer? The offense you were investigating was not homicide of Christopher.”

“Correct,” Lavilla answered.

The city will start calling their witnesses Thursday. The judge could have a final decision by Friday.

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