The ACLU of New Mexico is calling for a thorough investigation of the police shooting that claimed the life of 75-year-old Las Cruces resident Amelia Baca on Saturday, April 16. Baca suffered from dementia and was experiencing a mental health crisis when family members called 911 seeking help and Las Cruces Police Department officers were sent out to her home. According to reporting by the Las Cruces Sun Times, LCPD identified Baca as armed with a knife, though her family says she did not have any weapons in her hands at the time of the shooting. Police fired at least one round at Baca, killing her.
Barron Jones, Sr. Policy Strategist with the ACLU of New Mexico, issued the following statement:
“LCPD is one of the few local departments that has a crisis intervention team meant to prevent these types of tragedies. If this team had been deployed to de-escalate the situation, Baca may still be alive today and receiving the help she needed.
This latest tragedy is part of an alarming trend of people being killed by police across New Mexico. This situation demands comprehensive statewide use of force policy reform and increased oversight to ensure the public can rely on police following protective protocols already in place. We call on lawmakers to pass this crucial legislation during the 2023 legislative session. Our communities will not be safe until police officers are held accountable to a clear and uniform standard.“