DOJ report weighs in on fatal shootings

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Department of Justice findings into APD’s use of force highlights six specific shootings that the feds say were not justified.

In five of the six cases, the men killed by APD’s bullets were unarmed.

Kenneth Ellis, III

The one who did have a gun, Kenneth Ellis III, was pointing it at his own head.

The report says Ellis never gave any indication he intended to harm anyone but himself.

“I anticipate some of these officers being in prison for their killings of these young men,” said Kenneth Ellis, Jr.

Andrew Lopez

The feds say in some cases they reviewed, the Department praised what the officers did.

It cites the 2009 shooting of Andrew Lopez, who was unarmed, by Officer Justin Montgomery as an example.

A training officer called the situation “exemplary,” but a judge ruled it was unreasonable use of force.

Dominic Smith

The report also said officers shot and killed people who didn’t pose an immediate threat.

It used the example of Dominic Smith, who was shot and killed in 2009 when he was fleeing the scene of a robbery, unarmed.

Alan Gomez

It points to the case of Alan Gomez, gunned down by SWAT sniper Sean Wallace as Gomez stood, unarmed, on a porch negotiating with other officers during a domestic violence dispute.

“This report is going to conclude that there has to be some accountability now,” said Alan Gomez, whose son was shot and killed.

Mickey Owings

The DOJ report says some officers’ own recklessness led to deadly shootings.

It points to the 2010 fatal shooting of a suspect in a stolen car case named Mickey Owings.

The feds say that shooting violated the department’s policy of not shooting at moving cars unless they pose a deadly threat.

Daniel Tillison

It also says Officer Martin Smith, who killed a suspect named Daniel Tillison in 2012, could have avoided that if he had waited for backup instead of acting on his own.

“If you ask a lot of officers on the street to recite the fourth amendment, what the constitution mandates or what the law on this circuit mandates, they have no clue,” said Frances Carpenter, attorney for the Tillison estate.

Criminal Charges

The DOJ confirmed several cases they found in their year and a half investigation were sent to their criminal division.

It’s not clear which, if any of the six cases, were among those.

The only specific incident they confirmed was sent to the the FBI was the March shooting of James Boyd.

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