Attorneys for Browder family stress importance of officer driver’s training

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The attorneys for the family of a young woman killed in a high-profile crash with an Albuquerque police officer in 2013, say last week’s crash that killed a 6-year-old boy should never have happened.

They say it’s a sad reminder why Albuquerque police officers need to be more responsible behind the wheel.

Just last month, the city settled with the Browder family for more than $8 million.

The settlement also requires changes to Albuquerque Police Department training.

APD training video shows a police cruiser slowing through an intersection, lights and siren on. It’s a clear example of APD’s policy for responding to calls, that says officers must “exercise due regard for the safety of all persons.”

More APD training videos show cadets undergoing driving training.

“The big thing we want to get out of this week is good drivers,” says a training instructor in the video.

The training in the videos shows evasive driving maneuvers.

KRQE News 13 reached out to APD to ask how often officers undergo this kind of training but did not get an answer.

A week after APD Officer Johnathan McDonnell rammed into a family’s car on Eubank and Indian School on his way to a call, attorneys for another family impacted by a similar tragedy four years ago are highlighting the importance of safe driving training.

In the statement to KRQE News 13, attorneys Sean McAfee and Brian Branch, who represented the Browder family in their civil lawsuit against APD and Sgt. Adam Casaus, say the circumstances in this recent case are different.

But, the Browder attorneys say, “however, that does not negate Officer McDonnell’s duty to exercise due care for the public safety, even if he was responding to a felony in progress.”

Last month, the Browder’s settled with the city for $8.5 million for the crash, where investigators say an off-duty Casaus sped through a red light, killing 21-year-old Ashley Browder while claiming he was following a dangerous driver.

The settlement requires APD officers get specific training in driving and watch a video about the deadly crash.

Attorneys say that kind of training could “prevent exactly the sort of tragedy which occurred again on Monday.”

The statement from the Browder’s attorney goes on to say, “it is incomprehensible that in light of what occurred on February 10, 2013, another family must now endure the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one under somewhat similar circumstances. ”

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead in the investigation into last Monday’s crash. There’s no timetable on when that could be completed.

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