New lawsuits filed against APD for controversial shootings

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – They keep coming.

Two more lawsuits have been filed against APD over controversial shootings.

In one of them, it’s the mental health of the officer that is in question.

Daniel Tillison, a drug addict and dealer with a long criminal history, had a cell phone in his hand when he was shot by Officer Martin Smith.

The DA ruled the shooting was justified because Smith thought it was a gun.

The lawsuit claims Smith wasn’t fit for duty.

It alleges Smith, an Army vet who served in Afghanistan, was given a 100 percent disability rating for PTSD from the VA and that APD was negligent in putting him back on the force.

It also alleges he told co-workers he had a “PTSD moment” when he killed Tillison.

“There’s a lot of focus on the people who were shot having some sort of mental health issue like James Boyd, or Kenneth Ellis having PTSD,” said attorney Frances Crockett Carpenter. “But there’s not a lot of focus being put on these officers and the mental health condition of these officers.”

The other new lawsuit involves a shooting where the suspect had a gun but tossed it.

Police say Joaquin Ortega got into a crash on Central near Washington, then got out and tried to rob an elderly woman and her grandson at gunpoint at a bus stop.

Officer Brian Pitzer caught up with Ortega and fired 8 shots at him, wounding him.

The lawsuit claims Pitzer saw Ortega ditch his gun as he ran away but opened fire anyway.

Pitzer has shot and wounded three people over the years and been the subject of a string of lawsuits.

The Mayor’s office told us the City won’t comment on pending litigation.

The City has paid out almost $30 million dollars for APD lawsuits and settlements in the past four years. 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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