The fatal shooting of a Black man during a confrontation at a gas station in New Mexico has led to the charging of a police officer with voluntary manslaughter. On Tuesday, Attorney General Raúl Torrez made the announcement, highlighting the severity of the situation.
According to a spokesperson for Torrez, Las Cruces Police Officer Brad Lunsford was arrested on a single charge and subsequently released on Tuesday morning. As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no response from Lunsford’s attorney, Jess Lilley, to a voicemail left at their office.
According to authorities, Lunsford is accused of shooting Presley Eze, who was 36 years old at the time, at a gas station in Las Cruces on August 2, 2022, after an employee called 911 to report that Eze had left the store with unpaid beer.
Upon arriving at the scene, Lunsford was the initial officer to assess the situation. Amidst the commotion, Eze found himself on the ground, inadvertently landing on top of another officer. In the heat of the moment, he unintentionally placed his hand on the second officer’s Taser.
According to reports, Lunsford pulled out his firearm and fired at Eze from an extremely close range, hitting him on the back left side of his head.
During the news conference held in Las Cruces on Tuesday, Torrez was accompanied by Eze’s parents, wife, and son to announce the filing of the charge.
After consulting with use-of-force experts, Torrez’s office reached the conclusion that the utilization of deadly force was not justifiable given the situation.
In the aftermath of Eze’s death, the attorney general expressed his strong disapproval of the police’s tactics, citing this incident as yet another example of excessive force being used to subdue a suspect who was resisting arrest for a minor offense. This tragic event highlights the urgent need for law enforcement agencies to review and reform their policies and procedures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
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