In this Insider Exclusive Investigative Network TV Show, our News Team visits with Albuquerque Civil Rights Lawyer, Derek Garcia, founder of The Law Office of Derek V. Garcia, in a new Network TV Special, “Civil Rights Justice – Albuquerque Police & Michael Cruz’s Story” to examine how Michaels’s constitutional rights were violated by the Albuquerque Police and several of its officers.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of misconduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of federally-protected rights. The department has conducted similar investigations into use of force by law enforcement agencies, both large and small, across the country.
Under Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983, civil rights of individuals are protected from misconduct by law enforcement officials. It is unlawful for any arresting officer or enforcer of the law to act in a manner that deprives or restricts the rights of any person. Police misconduct can take many forms, including but not limited to:
False arrest/false imprisonment
Use of excessive force
Police misconduct lawsuits since 2010 have resulted in a tab of more than $24 million for Albuquerque taxpayers. The number will likely increase as several suits are ongoing and recent officer-involved incidents may result in new lawsuits being filed.
Included in the $24 million figure is a $7.95 million settlement with the family of Iraq War veteran Kenneth Ellis III, who was fatally shot in the neck by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba while holding a gun to his own head.
Another high-profile case was settled in mid-December 2013, when the city agreed to pay $900,000 to the family of Alan Gomez. Gomez was shot by officer Sean Wallace after the girlfriend of Gomez’s brother called police asking for assistance.
A federal lawsuit that is still ongoing involves the fatal shooting of Christopher Torres, who had a history of mental illness and was shot three times in the back at close range in the backyard of his parents Albuquerque home. Torres was the son of Deputy County Manager Renetta Torres.
APD officers have fired on 34 suspects since early 2010. APD has justified ALL of them. 22 of those shootings ended in fatalities,….Of the 34 men shot by police since 2010, 13 were not armed with guns.
Here’s a list of the Albuquerque Police Dept Fatal & Non-Fatal Shootings from only 2010 – 2013
1/9/10: Officer Andrew Cooke shoots Aaron Renfro
1/13/10: Detective Brett Lampiris-Tremba shoots Kenneth Ellis III
3/29/10: Officer Kevin Sanchez shoots Mickey Owings
6/10/10: Officers Anthony Brown, Eric Sedler shoot Chris Hinz
6/14/10: Officer Aaron Zwicky shoots Julian Calbert
7/27/10: Officer Jeremy Hollier shoots Len Fuentes
8/17/10: Officer Josh Brown shoots Enrique Carrasco
10/19/10: Officers Drew Bader, Ramon Ornelas shoot Daniel Gonzales
10/31/10: Officer David Sprague shoots Alexei Sinkevitch
2/9/11: Detective Byron “Trey” Economidy shoots Jacob Mitschelen
4/12/11: Officer Christopher J. Brown shoots Christopher Torres
5/10/11: Officer Sean Wallace shoots Alan Gomez
6/4/11: Officer Matthew Oates shoots Raymond Garcia
8/30/11: Officer Jim Perdue shoots Michael Marquez
1/4/12: Officer Mario Perez shoots Mark Macoldowna
3/19/12: Officer Martin Smith shoots Daniel Tillison
3/21/12: Officer Russ Carter shoots Gary Atencio
3/5/13: Officers Perdue, Sedler and Aragon shoot Parrish Dennison
3/19/13: APD shot at Kendall Carroll, but he was killed by State Police
7/5/13: Officers Jeff Bludworth and Katherine Wright shoot Vincent Wood
10/26/13: Officer Luke McPeek and others shoot Christopher Chase
12/8/13: Officer Hector Marquez shoots Andy Snider
1/29/10: Officer Sean Wallace shoots Wayne Cordova
3/4/10: Officer Roger Legendre shoots at Jose Castillo
4/14/10: Officer Zach Stephenson shoots Benjamin Marquez
9/14/10: Officer Leah Kelly shoots Chandler Barr
11/11/10: Officer Brian Pitzer shoots Russell Tenorio
6/26/11: Officer Damian Lujan shoots Orlando Paisano
4/19/12: Officer Mike Hill shoots Dennis Aragon
6/20/12: Officer Drew Bader shoots at Santiago Chavez
8/6/12: Sgt. Jason Peck shoots Dominick Solis-Mora
10/28/13: Officer Brian Pitzer shoots Joaquin Ortega
11/15/13: Officer Peter Romero shoots Robert Garcia, Sr.
12/1/13: Officers Luke McPeek, David Munoz and Jim Edison shoot Shane Sherrill
1/9/14: Detective Russell Carter shoots at Jeremy Robertson’s tires
As Derek has often said….. “The problem of Police Brutality is much more widespread than most Americans are willing to admit. …….Our nation practices….. a selective blindness…In this great and strong nation, we have all become unwitting accomplices to the continuation of the conflict”. Derek has earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as one of the best Civil Rights Trial lawyers in Albuquerque….. and across the nation.
He has seen many innocent & hard-working people become Victims of Police Brutality. He understands that Police brutality is one of the most serious, enduring, and divisive human rights violations in the United States. The problem is not just in New Mexico…but nationwide….and its nature is institutionalized. And because of that…. He is driven to fight for people who had been harmed by the willful or negligent actions of others.
He…Learned A long Time ago ….that “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for… He isn’t fit to live.”. His goals….. Not only To get Justice for his clients…
But To make sure all Americans have the right to a fair trial, honest cops, impartial prosecutors, and fair judges with no agendas…
because “Injustice anywhere…..is a threat to justice everywhere” !!!
“AND Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just …..may be powerful, AND… whatever is powerful may be just.”….