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What is the use of excessive force by police?

Excessive or lethal force refers to unreasonable actions that police officers take when arresting or questioning a person. In New Mexico, it remains a significant civil rights issue.

In 2023, cops killed 23 people, placing New Mexico high on the list of states with the highest rate of police killings. The statistics prove that the use of excessive force remains rampant, bolstering the abuse of power within law enforcement institutions.

Use of excessive force incidents in New Mexico

In April 2023, three Farmington police officers responded to a domestic violence report. The law enforcers arrived at the wrong house and shot a 52-year-old civilian who answered the door armed with a handgun. He sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.

The New Mexico Department of Justice decided not to file criminal charges against the cops. After evaluating police reports, witness testimonies and other evidence, the department said the dead civilian raised his gun when he answered the door. They believed that the officers acted within the bounds of accepted police practices.

In a more recent case, law enforcers from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) fatally shot an unarmed woman in a backyard shed.

On March 19, 2024, police were responding to a report of a stolen vehicle. When they found the car, the victim, who was inside it, fled the scene. She ended up in a backyard shed, where a cop reportedly mistook her phone for a gun and then opened fire.

Fight the abuse of power

The U.S. Constitution protects every citizen, including suspects under investigation. The use of lethal force violates regulations governing the behavior of police and other peace officers. Anyone who believes a cop has violated their civil rights may need the help of a legal professional to file a report.