Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Video shows police fatally shot grandmother with dementia in New Mexico

Police in New Mexico have released disturbing body camera footage that shows an officer fatally shooting a 75-year-old woman with dementia at her home last month.

Warning to readers: The video below is graphic and disturbing.

The woman, Amelia Baca, was furious at family members at her Las Cruces home when her daughter called the police for help on April 16. According to family members, Baka had a mental health crisis.

In body camera video released Tuesday by the city of Las Cruces in response to a public records request, an officer can be seen pointing a gun at Baca through the door of the house after arriving at the scene.

Baka, whose family members said they do not speak English, is holding two kitchen knives and shouting in Spanish.

The officer repeatedly shouts in English “drop the knife,” “drop the fucking knife,” “do it now.” After 38 seconds, he tells her to “put down the fucking knife” and fires two shots at her.

Video is below. This is graphic.

The body camera footage begins with the officer arriving at his home. As he approaches the front door, he tells two women – Baka’s daughter and grandmother – to step outside.

Granddaughter, Albert Inoh, tells the officer, “Please be very careful with him,” as she passes him.

Baka is then seen in the door holding a knife in each hand. He points his pistol at Baka and starts shouting to release the knife.

Last month, police released a narrated video containing a modified portion of the 911 call and a much smaller portion of a body camera video of an officer who arrived at the scene.

In the 911 call, Baca’s daughter tells the dispatcher: “I really need an officer or an ambulance or someone because my mom is getting really aggressive.”

“I’m hiding in a room because she’s threatening to kill me,” she said. He told the dispatcher that his mother had dementia.

The identity of the Las Cruces police officer has not been made public. He has reportedly been placed on administrative leave.

Baka’s family announced Thursday that they plan to file a civil suit against the city and the police department. They have also demanded that the district attorney charge the officer with murder.

“Let me be blunt. Amelia Baca was killed by the Las Cruces Police Department,” the family’s attorney, Sam Bregman, told reporters, according to the Las Cruces Sun News. “As a result of this senseless tragedy, the Baca family is respectfully demanding That the district attorney should charge this officer with murder.”

“You can’t walk up to someone’s front door when you’re in a mental health crisis… and shoot them after you scream for 38 seconds,” Bregman said.

Shortly after the news conference, the city said in a statement that it could not comment, Sun News reported.

“First of all, we do not take such serious incidents lightly, especially when someone loses their lives,” the statement said. “We, again, extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Amelia Baca. Any loss of life, no matter what the circumstances, is tragic.”

A task force from local law enforcement departments is investigating and will send the findings to District Attorney Gerald Byers.


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