LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – In 2022, a man ended up dead after complaints about a stolen beer led to a police shooting. Now, the state’s attorney general is claiming the police officer who pulled the trigger used unreasonable deadly force.
On August 2, 2022, Las Cruces Police responded to a 911 call claiming a man, Presley Eze, left the store without paying for a beer at a Las Cruces Chevron. The Office of the New Mexico Attorney General claims officers forcibly removed Eze, who was unarmed, from a vehicle. Eze did resist arrest, the attorney general’s office says, and Eze placed his hand on one of the officer’s taser before Officer Brad Lunsford drew his service weapon and shot Eze in the back of the head at point-blank range.
Earlier this year, KRQE News 13 reported on the incident when Eze’s sisters brought a lawsuit against the City of Las Cruces. In a response filed to the allegations in the lawsuit, the city denied that Eze was unarmed and denied that officers were aggressive while interacting with Eze. That case is still ongoing.
Now, Attorney General Raúl Torrez is charging Lunsford criminally. The attorney general announced a charge of voluntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement.
“The killing of Presley Eze is a tragedy and serves as yet another example of poor police tactics resulting in an unjustifiable use of force to subdue an individual resisting arrest for the commission of a minor crime,” Torrez said in a press release. “As New Mexico’s chief law enforcement officer, I have a duty to hold everyone accountable for violations of the law and that includes police officers who cross the line.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to the City of Las Cruces for comment on the allegations. As of publication, we have not received a response.