NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Testimony continued in day three of Christopher Smelser’s trial. Smelser is a former Las Cruces Police Officer accused of killing Antonio Valenzuela with a choke hold while trying to arrest him in 2020.
Wednesday, the court heard from Shane Brisco. He is an expert on the vascular neck restraint technique, also known as a chokehold, and how officers are trained to use it. Brisco demonstrated how to properly perform the technique on a mannequin. Brisco says officers are taught to hold the technique for about 40 seconds and that if the officer hears the person struggling to breath or choking, they should adjust their hold.
Brisco also said after reviewing lapel video of the incident, he believed Smelser held the vascular neck restraint too long. The court also heard from New Mexico State Police Sergeant William Mora who investigated the case and interviewed Smelser and other officers from Las Cruces police.