Graphic video was released this week of an officer-involved shooting by officers from the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The video, which appears to have been taken by a police helmet cam, shows officers at the end of a nearly three-hour standoff with a man who was reportedly mentally ill. After several minutes, the man appears to turn away from the police and is then shot several times in the back.
Release of the video has lead to protests by local citizens concerned that this was an unjustified shooting and an excessive use of force against a vulnerable person.
Video of APD Shooting
According to local reporting, though, the APD police chief held a news conference to defend the officers’ actions:
Chief Eden called the shooting justified at the news conference, saying officers used non-lethal force first and that there was a direct threat made at an unarmed K9 officer. According to Chief Eden, Boyd was less than eight feet from the unarmed canine officer.
“Actually if you watch the video tape, all the less than lethal devices were in fact deployed. It was when the canine officer was down directing the canine dog that the suspect pulled out the two knives and directed a threat to the canine officer who had no weapons drawn. He was handling the dog,” Chief Eden said.
News 13 asked Chief Eden directly, “do you believe this was a justified shooting?”
Chief Eden responded, “Yes, if you follow case law, ‘Garner versus Tennessee’, there was directed threat to an officer.”
The article also notes, however, that at least one of the officers appears to have fired his weapon at the same time as one of the non-lethal options was being deployed.
Whether you feel the shooting was justified or not, this incident is yet another reason to begin gathering data about officer-involved shootings on a national scale.
I’ve written before about the lack of information surrounding police use of deadly force involving firearms, and the fact that the FBI is prohibited in most instances from collecting data on police-involved shootings.
We need to insist on more transparency and accountability on the part of police agencies, and we need to develop more effective ways to prevent deadly force encounters.
Better data collection would be a good start in that direction.
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