ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – On Friday, APD made their case on why they had to shoot and kill a homeless man two weeks ago.
They released lapel camera video as well as graphic pictures of what the man had done leading up to the deadly officer-involved shooting.
APD said the officers tried to de-escalate the situation, backing up across two lanes as the suspect came at them with a bloody knife.
But once again, APD is having to explain why there’s no lapel video from the officers who opened fired.
Police say only one of the two officers, Ryan Graves and Brian Fuchs, who shot at 37-year-old Ralph Chavez had turned on his lapel camera. While Graves’ camera was on, police say it was covered up by a rain jacket.
“We figured out he had thrown his rain jacket on because it was raining in Albuquerque, which doesn’t normally happen, and that was what was obscuring the lens of the camera,” APD Deputy Chief William Roseman said.
The audio from that officer’s lapel camera is clear and a responding APD sergeant’s lapel camera captured the final moments before Chavez was shot three times.
Police initially responded to the stabbing call around 9:30 p.m. two weeks ago at 2nd Street NW near Arvada Street and Interstate 40.
Police say Chavez, who was homeless, had ingested an unknown substance before attacking a woman. According to police, Chavez then stabbed a male acquaintance, who was trying to intervene, five times.
Police say Chavez was still armed with a knife when officers Graves and Fuchs made contact with him. In lapel camera video, you see the two officers backing away from Chavez across the lanes of 2nd Street before shooting at him.
“Mr. Chavez approached the officers roughly 24 feet with a knife in his hand, and the officers retreated roughly 24 feet trying to de-escalate it when shots were fired,” Roseman told KRQE News 13.
Police say Graves is CIT certified and the officers had little time to use less lethal force.
Graves has returned to normal duty and Fuchs is in the process of being cleared to return to duty. Both officers have been with APD since 2009 and neither had been involved in an officer-involved shooting before.
Roseman said an internal affairs investigation will start once the criminal investigation is complete. Roseman also said the I.A. will look into why Fuchs did not turn on his lapel camera.
In the Department of Justice report, the feds came down hard on APD for not enforcing it’s lapel camera policy.
“According to our SOP, there are repercussions for not turning on lapel video,” Roseman said. “You have to realize, too, there are circumstances where people can’t.”
Police say the man who was repeatedly stabbed by Chavez, and is also homeless, was just released from the hospital. The Family Advocacy Center is trying to find him a place to stay so his wound does not get infected.