LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a man who was shot and killed by a Las Cruces Police officer has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer in federal court.

Presley Eze, 36, was shot in the back of the head by Officer Brad Lunsford during an altercation with police over allegations of a stolen can of beer at a Las Cruces gas station on Aug. 2, 2022. The lawsuit claims Lunsford did not warn Eze that he was going to use deadly force and states Lunsford’s decision to shoot was “objectively unreasonable.”

“The officers introduced violence at every level in violation of the United States
Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable seizure of the bodies of its citizens,” the lawsuit states in part.

The lawsuit also refutes claims, as stated in a Oct. 3, 2023 news release from the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, that Eze got ahold of one of the officer’s tasers.

In that same news release, Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced that Lunsford was charged with voluntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement. The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office consulted with use-of-force experts who, upon reviewing the available footage, concluded Lunsford’s use of deadly force was not reasonable under the circumstances and that other, less lethal options could have been used.

Eze’s family in Connecticut filed a lawsuit against the City of Las Cruces claiming the city is trying to cover up the incident and is withholding public information. The lawsuit states that the family has struggled to get the complete video and documents related to the fatal shooting.