ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department held a news briefing on Tuesday, June 1 to release information regarding two recent in-custody deaths, both involving people with mental health issues.
APD reports that investigations are ongoing in two incidents. One happened on April 4 in northwest Albuquerque while the other took place on April 15 in the northeast region of the city. Authorities say that the Multi-Agency Task Force investigates in-custody deaths just as MATF detectives investigate officer-involved shootings.
On April 4, APD reported that a man suffered a medical episode during an arrest and died at the scene. APD identified that man as Danny White. The department says the man’s family called 911 reporting he had hit his father and they were afraid he would hurt others. They told dispatchers the man suffered from Huntington’s Disease and was prone to violent outbursts.
After officers tackled White, they pinned him to the floor and that’s when he stopped breathing. The department says OMI has not yet ruled on the man’s cause of death but in lapel video, you can see officers attempting CPR at the scene. APD says the officers who responded to that call were Officers Michael Harrison and Josh Johnson, both officers are back on duty.
Police reported that on April 15 officers were dispatched to Chelwood Park Dr. in northeast Albuquerque for a man, identified as Christopher Mora, attempting to harm himself. APD stated that officers arrived at the scene and saw Mora armed with a knife and suffering from multiple wounds. Officers and the man’s brother plead with him to drop the knife before an officer fires a taser.
Authorities say Mora was tased by Officer Arianne Morrow. Authorities say Mora was taken from the scene and transported to the hospital but did not survive his injuries. APD says Morrow has been with the department since early 2020 and was performing on-the-job training when the incident happened. APD says Morrow is back on duty.
Meanwhile, the department says they have different levels of crisis response teams. The baseline level, CIT training, is a 40-hour class that all officers, who have been on the force for a year or longer, receive the training. APD states the second level, ECIT is voluntary training in mental health. APD said they have an ECIT trained officer on every shift. APD says the other level is the Mobile Crisis Team.
Police say both incidences are still under investigation on the administrative level to see if the officers acted appropriately and on the criminal side, to look at whether they broke the law.