Bernalillo County pays $1.75M in lawsuit settlement following 2017 shooting

New Mexico News

Bernalillo County has made a hefty payout to settle a shooting by the undersheriff’s son, a shooting that a high-profile attorney called murder.

A deadly deputy shooting followed a chase in November 2017 that took two lives and spurred a war of words between one of the dead man’s attorneys and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales.

What’s not in question is that Deputy Joshua Mora, the undersheriff’s son, killed Isaac Padilla, the driver of a stolen truck, and his passenger, Martin Jim, after a chase came to a standstill off Coors. They were unarmed. The sheriff called it justified.

Jim’s attorney Sam Bregman even alleged Deputy Mora never should have been on the force, that the sheriff and Mora’s father pushed him through the academy.

KRQE News 13 has learned the county is paying out $1.75 million to settle a series of lawsuits in the case.

Unlike the city with APD shootings, the sheriff and county refused for weeks to reveal the cost, telling KRQE News 13 to file a public records request, which had been done.

Why did the county agree to pay the money if the shooting was justified, and what does this mean for Deputy Mora’s job status? Furthermore, what does this mean for the big federal lawsuit in the case that’s still looming over the department?

“Obviously we can’t talk when civil suits are out there, so basically I wouldn’t be able to comment anyway,” said Sheriff Gonzales. 

The wave of shootings, including this one, had people calling for Sheriff Gonzales to get cameras for his deputies like every other major police and sheriff’s department has done in New Mexico. The sheriff has refused to get lapel cameras, saying the public trusts his deputies.

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