ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico condemned the Third Judicial District Attorney’s and the New Mexico Attorney General’s failure to hold Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) Officer Jared Cosper accountable for shooting an elderly woman, Amelia Baca, on April 16, 2022. Baca’s family called the police for help because their beloved relative was in the throes of a health crisis. Rather than de-escalate the situation, Cosper shot the 75-year-old, killing her.
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of New Mexico Director of Public Policy Nayomi Valdez:
“Like so many in our community, the ACLU of New Mexico continues to mourn the unjust and unconscionable killing of Amelia Baca, a woman whose family called for help and in turn lost their mother to police violence. The shocking decision not to bring charges against LCPD Officer Jared Cosper for shooting 75-year-old Baca twice in the chest is a stark reminder that the criminal legal system is not designed to protect the safety of our neighbors or to bring justice for those who most need it.
“The fact that both the District Attorney and the New Mexico Attorney General’s office have found this violence justifiable under current legal standards shows how desperately we need changes to the law. New Mexico’s policies must reflect what our community knows all too well: the killing of Amelia Baca and killings by police across the state are too often far from justified; they are the tragic result of policy choices that give police too much power, roles that are too expansive, and little accountability. We must adopt strong, statewide de-escalation policies and address the overly vague and permissive definition of justifiable homicide by law enforcement.
“In the year and a half since Amelia Baca was killed by Officer Cosper, 32 more families in our state have lost loved ones to police violence, joining nearly 200 other families who are mourning deaths at the hands of the police since 2013. We are holding the family of Amelia Baca and all New Mexican families who have lost loved ones to police violence in our thoughts and with us always as we continue to work toward meaningful change when it comes to law enforcement."