The city of Albuquerque must pay more than $6m in connection with the wrongful death of a man with schizophrenia killed by Albuquerque police, a New Mexico judge ruled Tuesday.
In her detailed findings of fact, district court judge Shannon Bacon said officers were not acting in self-defense when they punched and shot Christopher Torres, 27, in his backyard in 2011.
Bacon also wrote the use of deadly force violated Torres’ constitutional rights.
According to authorities, detectives CJ Brown and Richard Hilger shot Torres in the back at close range while serving an arrest warrant on a felony charge of aggravated auto burglary for trying to carjack a woman at a traffic light. During the confrontation with police, Torres tried to punch Hilger and grabbed Hilger’s gun as they scuffled in the suspect’s backyard, police said.
But Bacon said the officers did not present the arrest warrant when they confronted him in his yard. The judge said Hilger and Brown also did not contact Torres’ assigned Crisis Intervention Team officer or family before confronting him – something the family had asked in order to ease tensions.
Instead, the officers jumped the fence and walked toward him, the ruling said.
“The unnecessary escalation of events by Detectives Brown and Hilger and their own aggressive acts at the Torres home created the unnecessarily dangerous situation in which Christopher Torres was shot to death,” Bacon wrote.
Steve Torres, Christopher’s father, said he hadn’t seen the ruling but he thinks it vindicates the family’s story that their son was unnecessarily killed by police.
“For us, it was never about the money,” Torres said. “It was about setting the record straight.”
An attorney for the city of Albuquerque did not immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press.
The ruling comes as the city of Albuquerque is in talks with the US Justice Department over pending police reforms following a scathing report faulting Albuquerque police over its use of force and the way officers handle suspects battling mental illness.
The Justice Department is expected to release a draft of its decree later this week.
3 thoughts on “Albuquerque ordered to pay $6m over man’s wrongful killing by police”
So what happened to the murdering trash that shot Christopher Torres to death? The U.S.Justice Department is preparing an excuse right now to present to the sheeple. Who know maybe they will even lie and say they are sorry,you know sorry that they couldn’t just sweep this under the rug like they normally do! How can so many not see the police state that is staring them right in the eye’s?
This amount should be put on a 30 year payment plan with intrest for the police to pay. Then each officer told how much a week comes out of there pay to make the payment. That would put a end to such as this. As far as the police care it is just a way to raise your tax’s. So they get a bigger percent as there share. And a raise from it in pay. Well we get out 10% off the top of the tax money. And tax’s were raised to pay for this. So we earned more for it.