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New Mexico officer charged with voluntary manslaughter

Just over a year ago, New Mexico police received a call reporting a theft at a local convenience store. Several officers were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, they encountered a man who was unable to confirm his identity. After attempting to extricate the man (who was suspected of stealing a beer from the store) they tried to detain him; a physical struggle occurred. One of the officers shot the man in the back of the head. That officer has recently been formally charged with voluntary manslaughter.

There are multiple streams of camera footage of the tragic events that took place, including police body camera films and cell phone videos that a witness recorded as the situation unfolded at the gas station. Police claim the man became physically aggressive and, at one point, overpowered an officer and was on top of him on the ground. They also claim the man got hold of a police Taser device.

Police officer stands accused of voluntary manslaughter

During the scuffle, the man is said to have placed his hand on a responding officer’s Taser. Another officer then opened fire at point-blank range to the back of the man’s head causing his death. The officer who shot the man is now facing voluntary manslaughter charges. The now-deceased man was unarmed at the time of the shooting, although police say the responding officers had removed a pocketknife from his possession a few moments earlier.

Excessive use of force is a recurring problem among police officers, including some in New Mexico. Many people believe these incidents are racially motivated. In the past 18 or so years, close to 200 police officers have been arrested in connection with on-duty shootings. Anyone who has lost a family member or has survived injuries inflicted by an on-duty police officer may wish to discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in handling these types of claims.