ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A new lawsuit says the Albuquerque Police Department targeted and needlessly killed a man who was fleeing from police in July 2014.
Jeremy Robertson, 33, was a burglar and car thief with a lengthy record when he ran from plain clothes officers trying to arrest him about two years ago for a probation violation.
“The subject was still armed and posing an immediate threat to officers,” Deputy Chief William Roseman said at the time. “At this time we believe two shots were fired and two officers were involved.”
Police quickly explained what happened following the shooting near Central and Eubank. The two SWAT officers fired at Robertson from across a field near a gas station and Subway restaurant. A gun was found next to Robertson on the ground.
“As the subject fled, he pulled a hand gun from his waist band,” Roseman said.
This was just months after Robertson had a run in with police where he allegedly rammed a patrol car.
Now a lawsuit says Robertson was wrongfully killed that July day and that police officers, specifically the two SWAT officers, are the ones who created the danger in the busy area of town — not Robertson.
“Officers did many, many things wrong that day,” Laura Schauer Ives, attorney at Kennedy, Kennedy and Ives, said.
Ives said Robertson never threatened anyone with a gun that or any day before.
“Mr. Robertson did not have a history of pointing guns at anybody or violence that would rise to the level that this could be justified,” Ives said.
The suit says the two SWAT officers who shot Robertson, with his back turned while scaling a fence, first claimed he pointed a gun at them. But then, days later, the two officers changed their statements.
The officers, the suit says, then claimed that they shot Robertson to keep other cops and the public safe.
“Just because somebody has a criminal history does not mean you get to shoot them when they run away from you,” Ives said. “Simply put, officers do not have the right to execute people.”
The lawsuit also says officers had multiple opportunities earlier in the day to arrest Robertson in less crowded public places.
The officers’ helmet cameras did not capture the incident.
The City did not comment on the lawsuit.