EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A federal lawsuit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of Jonathan Strickland who was shot during an officer-involved shooting in Las Cruces on March 11, 2021.
The lawsuit is against the City of Las Cruces and five police officers for civil rights violations and injuries. Attorneys for Strickland called it a “Military-Style Attack” by Las Cruces Police Officers, saying he was shot at 90 times. “We feel that this is one of the most outrageous shootings that we’ve seen around the country. There are some bad ones but when you have 90 shots at a young man who is unarmed, it can’t get much worse than that,” said John Burris, Attorney representing Strickland.
Strickland’s attorneys say he had at least 12 gunshot wounds to his pelvis, shoulder, neck, and back. “I believe that people need to be responsible for their actions I want my justice, I was unarmed but because of the Las Cruces Police Department, I now have to live my life in pain for the rest of my life,” said Strickland.
Before the officer-involved shooting, New Mexico State Police said Strickland had been accused of threatening his partner. His partner reportedly went to the police station on March 11, 2021, and then Strickland arrived. When officers tried to detain him, he allegedly drove out of the parking lot and a pursuit began.
LCPD stopped Strickland’s vehicle by using the precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver and that’s when shots were fired.
An Attorney representing the City of Las Cruces and police officers says law enforcement believed Strickland was armed. “It’s what they (police) were told by Mr. Strickland’s girlfriend the mother of his child and that Mr. Strickland was armed, that Mr. Strickland had committed a violent felony crime against his girlfriend pointing a weapon at her head, threatening, basically telling the one-year-old child that your mom is going to die,” said Robles.
Strickland’s partner later recanted the claims of abuse. However, Robles says there were two 911 calls made by her before she recanted. “As well as what she said to police in a subsequent interview, she did recant her statement that is true, but that happens in domestic violence cases with unfortunate frequency,” said Robles.
Following the officer-involved shooting, Strickland was indicted by a grand jury for abuse of a child and battery against a household member. However, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported that the charges were dropped due to issues with evidence.