ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - They were the personnel records Albuquerque police didn't want you to see, and now the family of an Iraq war veteran shot and killed by police is using them as ammunition in a lawsuit against the department.
The lawsuit claims Officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba, a 14-year veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department, committed crimes before he tried to become a cop, lied on his APD application, lied while serving on the force and even fired his gun inside a police station.
Lampiris-Tremba shot and killed Kenneth Ellis, 25, early last year in the parking lot of a 7-11 gas station in the Northeast Heights. Ellis, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, pointed a gun at his own head before he was killed.
Cops had pulled Ellis over after he was seen leaving a known car thief's apartment.
"My brother was a better person morally and ethically than the man that shot him who is supposed to be held to a higher standard," said Ellis's sister Jonelle Ellis.
The family is suing the city. They say Lampiris-Tremba's past should have kept him off the force.
The lawsuit claims just released documents from the officer's own APD file, show he lied on his application about using marijuana and admitted to stealing and using a fake I.D. as a young man. While on the force, Lampiris-Tremba has been suspended for lying. He also failed to report that he fired a Taser dart at a man during a traffic stop and accidentally discharged his gun in the Southeast Substation.
"He's had a few (Internal Affairs) complaints," said Kathy Levy, Albuquerque City Attorney. "They have all been addressed by the department and accepted by him."
Levy maintained that the criminal admissions on Lampiris-Tremba's APD application are from when the officer was a very young man and are petty, juvenile occurrences. She also says he has been properly reprimanded for any incidents following his hire date.
There is also something else that bothers the Ellis family.
"He accidentally shot my brother. He says, Oh my gosh, was that me that pulled the trigger?'" Jonelle Ellis said.
The lawsuit alleges that after Lampiris-Tremba shot Ellis, he said, "Was that me?". It's a claim that APD strongly denies. They also deny the family's claim that Ellis was not a threat to the officers on scene.
Ellis's family believes if APD had tougher standards for its hires, Kenneth Ellis would still be alive today.
"There's not a thing we can do that will bring my brother back," his sister said, "but what we can do is protect everybody else."
Lampiris-Tremba was cleared in the deadly shooting by Internal Affairs and a grand jury. The city's independent review officer, who's a retired federal judge, did find the shooting was unjustified.
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