ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is in the crosshairs of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of an inmate killed while in custody.

It surrounds the controversial takedown of 37-year-old Vicente Villela. An autopsy report ruled his death homicide by suffocation. Now the family has officially filed a lawsuit, accusing officers of excessive force and failing to step in to save him.

The lawsuit was filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court last week, alleging correctional officers caused Villela’s wrongful death and failing to intervene to save him. Villela was arrested earlier in the day on breaking and entering charges, burglary, strong-armed robbery, and the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.

Meanwhile, a criminal investigation from BCSO detectives is still being reviewed by the District Attorney’s office.

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