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New Mexico Police Officer Charged with Voluntary Manslaughter in Fatal Shooting

Photo of New Mexico Police Officer Brad Lunsford has been charged with voluntary manslaughter, following the fatal shooting of Presley Eze

New Mexico Police Officer Charged with Voluntary Manslaughter in Fatal Shooting

In a significant development, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez has announced that Las Cruces Police Officer Brad Lunsford has been charged with voluntary manslaughter, following the fatal shooting of Presley Eze, a Black man, during a confrontation at a gas station.

The Tragic Incident:

On August 2, 2022, at a Las Cruces gas station, a situation unfolded after a gas station attendant called 911, reporting that Presley Eze had left without paying for a beer. Lunsford was the first officer to arrive at the scene. Eze, a nurse working in the area, was initially questioned about the incident, but officers were unable to verify his identity.

The Confrontation:

During the confrontation, Eze resisted the officers’ attempts to detain him, and a struggle ensued. At some point, Eze gained possession of the second officer’s Taser. In response to this, Lunsford drew his firearm and fired a single shot at point-blank range, striking Eze in the back of the head, tragically resulting in his death.

The Legal Action:

Attorney General Torrez announced that, based on an independent analysis and consultation with use-of-force experts, criminal charges against Lunsford were justified. He emphasized that the use of deadly force was not reasonable under the circumstances, characterizing Eze’s death as a result of “poor police tactics resulting in an unjustifiable use of force to subdue an individual resisting arrest for the commission of a minor crime.”

The Outcome:

Lunsford surrendered to authorities from the Office of the Attorney General and was taken into custody. He was subsequently released. The next step in the criminal case involves a probable cause determination, either through a preliminary hearing or grand jury proceedings.

Community Response:

Eze’s family, along with their attorneys and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), were present during Attorney General Torrez’s announcement. They have filed a lawsuit against the city, and the case is ongoing. Concerns have been raised about the release of information related to the incident, with accusations of a cover-up, although the city’s attorney has denied such allegations.

This case highlights the ongoing debate and concerns surrounding the use of force by law enforcement officers, particularly in cases involving individuals from minority communities.

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