Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque Police Department on Monday released information surrounding the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Keshawn Thomas at an Albuquerque gas station. On Sunday, August 28, 2022, police were called to a Valero station on Coors Road after someone reported a man unconscious in a vehicle. According to information released by APD, a confrontation occurred after Thomas stepped out and then re-entered his vehicle. He was fatally shot by multiple officers.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is calling for the immediate release of body camera footage of this incident so that Thomas’ family and the community has a transparent accounting of how a routine police call led to his death.
This is the seventh person killed by APD this year and the 12th shot by officers, according to reporting by the Albuquerque Journal, despite years of federal oversight intended to address APD officers’ excessive use of force against residents. It also comes on the heels of a similar fatal police encounter at a Las Cruces gas station just a few weeks ago. The rate at which people in New Mexico are shot and killed by law enforcement is the highest in the country, and APD in particular has one of the deadliest departments in our state.
Barron Jones, senior policy strategist with the ACLU of New Mexico, released the following statement:
“Once again, a New Mexico family is grieving the unnecessary and preventable death of a loved one at the hands of Albuquerque police officers. Thomas’ family deserves a fair and transparent investigation into his death, starting with the release of body-cam footage to shed light on what happened that night. It’s clear that while APD has made some strides under the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement, officers at the department are still killing people and this latest shooting shows there is much more work to be done.
Thomas’ tragic death is also further proof that our current use-of-force laws have completely failed to protect our communities, especially people of color who are disproportionately victims of police violence. New Mexicans urgently need a statewide use of force policy to turn the tide on police violence in our state.”