ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office yesterday held a press conference surrounding the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Elijah Riche on the day after Thanksgiving. The body-camera footage shown during the conference appears to depict a deputy fatally shooting Riche in the back after he failed to comply with verbal commands to put down his gun.
Barron Jones, senior policy strategist at the ACLU of New Mexico, issued the following statement:
“The body-camera footage of the incident that led to Elijah Riche’s death appears to show BCSO Deputy Ronald Perez shooting Riche in the back. While Riche is in possession of a gun, he does not appear to be holding it in a threatening manner or poised to fire.”
“The BCSO body camera footage that the department chose to release (and is all that the public has to go on) only shows Riche and does not show any of the deputies involved. BSCO must release footage of the deputies in front of Riche, so the community can see a clear view of the deputy who fired the fatal shot. Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General should conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident so that Riche’s family and community have an unbiased accounting of his tragic death.”
“This fatal shooting, along with other recent officer-involved shootings, speaks to the need for state-wide legislation for police use of force. New Mexico currently ranks number one in the nation for people killed by police, making clear that our current laws governing use of force are failing to protect communities. We can change that by passing legislation that prevents officers and deputies from using lethal force when it is not absolutely necessary for their safety or the safety of others and when alternatives have not been exhausted.”