ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The mayor unveiled his proposed budget on Tuesday.
It calls for pay raises for Albuquerque Police officers and new police cars.
Mayor R.J. Berry also calls for a million dollars to help train officers to better deal with tense situation and people who suffer from mentally illness.
But a pair of high-powered attorneys say that is too little too late. They are working on a sweeping class-action lawsuit against APD over the shootings.
This lawsuit in the works aims to assure parents of adults with mental health needs that their son or daughter won’t be in danger if confronted by police.
Four years ago, it was Kenneth Ellis.
Three years ago, it was Christopher Torres.
Now, James Boyd. He is the latest man with a history of mental health issues to die in a police shooting.
In fact, most of the 34 people Albuquerque Police officers have shot since 2010 have been mentally ill.
Attorney Joe Kennedy believes it is going to take a court order before that changes.
“These folks are ill through no fault of their own,” Kennedy said. “There is no reason they should suffer the consequences of being killed when we can prevent that or lessen that, lessen the likelihood of that, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Kennedy is talking with parents of adults with mental health needs interested in joining a class-action lawsuit against Albuquerque Police.
It would call for more training to help officers talk mentally ill people down during an arrest or a standoff.
This comes as Mayor Berry announces his budget.
“We need to do more than we’re doing today at the state level, the city level and the national level,” he said.
It includes a million dollars that could fund new APD training.
“We know we want to do more with deescalation techniques,” Mayor Berry said. “We know we want to do more when we’re dealing with folks who are dealing with mental illness who find themselves in confrontation with first responders.”
But Kennedy doesn’t want to wait and see if the city gets it done.
He wants a judge to order it and, unlike the other costly lawsuits APD’s been hit with, he said this won’t be about a payout.
“Frankly, the city of Albuquerque citizens have paid enough in damages. We’re trying to prevent money from being paid out in the future,” Kennedy said. “The city is going to bankrupt itself if it keeps shooting people.”
Kennedy said he is expecting to file the lawsuit by the end of the month.
The city did not want to comment on the lawsuit because it has not yet been filed.