Las Cruces, NM – The Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) yesterday held a press conference surrounding the fatal shooting of a 36-year-old man at a Las Cruces gas station. On August 2, 2022, police were called to a Chevron station on Valley Avenue after an employee reported that a man, who hasn’t yet been identified, shoplifted from the store. According to information released by LCPD, after not complying with officer orders, a scuffle ensued and the man was fatally shot by one or more officers.
During the press conference, LCPD police chief Miguel Dominguez urged “citizens” to “please comply with officers,” implying that they might suffer the same fate as the recent shooting victim if they did not.
While city officials say body camera footage of the encounter will be released at some point, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is calling for this footage to be released immediately. It is imperative that the footage be made available to the public for a full and transparent accounting of the incident.
According to reporting by the Las Cruces Sun-News, this latest shooting marks the fifth fatal police shooting this year in Las Cruces. LCPD has killed two people in two incidents, and the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office has killed three people since the start of the year.
Barron Jones, senior policy strategist with the ACLU of New Mexico released the following statement:
“Any officer-involved shooting demands the highest level of transparency from the police department. LCPD should immediately release the bodycam footage so the public can determine for itself whether this shooting was justified. If LCPD has nothing to hide, there should be no objections.
Furthermore, the LCPD chief of police’s warning to the community about not complying with officers is terrifying rhetoric. LCPD has a history of needlessly escalating situations that lead to avoidable death and noncompliance should not automatically result in shooting to kill in any situation.
This incident is another tragic example of the need for a statewide use of force policy that emphasizes de-escalation. Our community must be assured that proper oversight and accountability will be applied to fatal officer encounters like this one. The immediate release of police bodycam footage will help shed light on how this shooting came to pass.”