ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been more than two years, and now a shooting involving New Mexico State Police is the subject of a federal lawsuit.
Roxanne Torres is suing, saying there’s a good explanation for why she almost ran over two state police officers.
The officers were cleared, Torres even did some time behind bars for what happened that day, but she and her attorney claim police made some major mistakes.
Authorities on July 15, 2014, were looking for Kayenta Jackson to serve a warrant for fraud. But they came across Roxanne Torres at that apartment complex near I-25 and San Mateo.
“Mrs. Torres was basically minding her own business sleeping in her vehicle,” said Eric Dixon, a Portales-based attorney who represents Torres.
“She was approached by two individuals in dark clothing that were yelling at her. She thought it was a carjacking,” he said.
According to the lawsuit obtained by KRQE News 13, the officers were wearing tactical gear and Torres had no idea they were police.
Investigators said Torres drove toward a female officer and two officers fired 13 times.
“They had no right to be trying to open her automobile door. They had no right to shoot from the back,” Dixon said.
Torres was shot in the back, according to the lawsuit.
After the confrontation, authorities said she sped off, later crashing near Jefferson and Ellison. She was almost about to give up under the belief a police officer was nearby, authorities said, but instead suddenly stole a car.
She drove 80 miles to a hospital in Grants.
New Mexico State Police declined to comment, citing pending litigation, but after the shooting in 2014, Chief Pete Kassetas explained how that fast-moving car could be a killer.
“That’s a clear indication that one of my officers was in the direct path of that vehicle when the driver decided to accelerate and leaving that parking lot,” Kassetas said three days after the shooting.
Both officers did not face any criminal charges in an August decision reached by the District Attorney’s Office.
Torres, now out on parole, is suing for medical expenses, which were approximately $250,000, her attorney said. She’s also suing for pain and suffering and for emotional distress.