DA not surprised at judge’s ruling in Torres shooting

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says she did all she could, ruling a controversial APD shooting justified. The same shooting a district judge found very wrong.

That judge issued a $6 million judgment against the city Tuesday.

The DA gave her side Wednesday.

The District Attorney says the case she was given to review was flawed from the beginning but also points out that what the civil judge said is opposite of what she found.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says she’s not surprised that a civil judge found wrong-doing in the death of Christopher Torres who was fatally shot by an APD cop in 2011.

But, she still says there’s not enough evidence to seek criminal charges against the officer who fired his weapon, which is something she decided back in February.

Judge Shannon Bacon rejected claims that that two officers were acting in self-defense when one of them shot and killed the wanted mentally-ill man.

Bradenburg was tasked with reviewing if the officers in fear for their safety.

“I have no reason not to believe that, given all the facts in the case and given the state, the state of the law,” Brandenburg said.

Officers Richard Hilger and Chris Brown claim Torres resisted arrest in his backyard and during a struggle he reached for Hilger’s gun.

That’s when Brown shot him three times in the back.

In the civil case, eyewitness testimony contradicted that story and the judge said the officers’ stories were not credible.

But DA Kari Brandenburg says in the case she was given to review, the officers’ statements were consistent with other evidence about the incident.

She says it was eye-witness statements that were inconsistent.

Brandenburg says while the judge was allowed to hear new testimony from all parties including officers, she had to rely on what review officers gave her.

Judge Bacon says there was a lack of evidence that Torres reached for the officers’ gun, including no fingerprints, however Brandenburg points out Torres’ DNA was found on the gun.

Brandenburg says that if there is new evidence from the civil case that could support a criminal conviction, she will consider reviewing the case again.

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