ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – KRQE News 13 has obtained new video following a controversial death at an Albuquerque K-Mart.
Police are investigating to see if K-Mart loss prevention workers caused the death of a shoplifting suspect while restraining him.
Albuquerque Police blacked out a lot of video that shows exactly what an officer saw when he got to the store, but it does give us a closer look at the investigation and what witnesses said that day.
An officer arrived at Kmart around 5 p.m. on May 3 to find a shoplifting suspect, Jonathan Sorensen, handcuffed with three loss prevention workers holding him face down on the floor, according to a police report.
“Male subject is not breathing, unconscious,” an officer is heard saying during video that is blacked out. “How long were you guys on top of him?”
The employees told police they were on Sorensen about 5 minutes, but a witness later said it was more like 20.
Sorensen died, and an autopsy hasn’t yet shown why.
Attorney George Bleus blames the Kmart employees who restrained him.
“Whether it’s for the allegation of a theft. This is inappropriate all around,” Bleus said.
The employees were the ones who called 911. They said Sorensen was being violent, trying to hit them. The loss prevention workers haven’t been charged for doing anything wrong, but police are still looking into it.
“He was handcuffed the entire time right there while he was down with at least 3 to 4 people on top of him,” an officer said in the APD lapel video.
One concerned witness took cell phone video.
“He’s unresponsive right? I knew it,” the woman is heard saying in the cell phone video. “You guys were suffocating him.”
The officer lapel video we have not yet seen may be the key to clearing that up.
“There will be different stories but the truth shall prevail and the videos will assist that,” Bleus said.
APD said the video didn’t show Sorensen because of medical privacy concerns as paramedics worked to try to revive him.
The Office of the Medical Investigator tells KRQE News 13 it will take a few more weeks to complete the autopsy report. APD said it’s also a few weeks out from finishing its investigation.
When police finish the investigation, they say the District Attorney’s office will decide if the K-Mart employees should face criminal charges.