Albuquerque Leaders Struggle With Recent Killings

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Albuquerque Leaders Struggle With Recent Killings.

An Albuquerque police officer shot and left critically injured during a traffic stop last week has died, the department’s police chief announced Thursday.On Oct. 20, a 4-year-old girl traveling with her father in a pickup truck was shot and killed by an angry driver in a road rage incident near downtown. Lymon’s lengthy criminal history and those of men charged in other recent high-profile cases in New Mexico have led to widespread criticism from law enforcement officials.

Officer Daniel Webster “was the very best example of a life committed to public service, through his service to our country and to our community,” Albuquerque police Chief Gorden Eden said in a statement. The eight-year veteran of the force underwent multiple surgeries. “Officer Webster fought valiantly for his life, however, his injuries were too severe,” Thursday. “Though our own hearts are heavy, please continue to pray for his wife and their family as they endure this unimaginable loss.” Davon Lymon, 34, was arrested and charged last week with violating federal firearms laws in connection with the shooting; he hasn’t been charged for shooting Webster. Named the 2013 Albuquerque Uniformed Officer of the Year, Webster was recognized as a “determined, motivated officer who is a leader to his peers.” “I have no doubt, the quick response of Officer Webster, saved the child’s life, and prevented any neurological damage, due to his ability to respond,” the letter said. Police say Lymon fired six rounds and fled into a nearby neighborhood before a canine unit found him with a handcuff hanging from his left wrist, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

But the past several days of mayhem have spurred a new outcry among city leaders and citizens, with politicians, prosecutors and police pointing fingers over who is responsible. “It has been a difficult week in Albuquerque,” Mayor Richard Berry said at a news conference Friday, following the two shootings. “I’ve seen one too many officers wheeled down the hallway on a bloody gurney. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Lymon to remain in jail pending the trial, denying a request from his public defender Marc Robert to hold him in a half-way house, the Journal reported.

I’m tired of it.” Leaders of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, which represents the majority of the police force, say the department—which is operating under a U.S. In the days following the shooting, Eden described Webster as a high-performing, highly decorated officer who had recently left a detective post to patrol the streets as the force faced an officer shortage. Justice Department reform agreement after officers were involved in 20 fatal shootings between 2009 and 2012, a rate comparable to much larger cities—desperately needs more officers to keep both citizens and police safe.

Prosecutors said Lymon illegally possessed a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, as he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery charges in 2001. Webster, who died very early Thursday morning, is the 32nd officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Some of the more senseless incidents, like the random slaying of a man in his driveway in July, for which six teenagers have been charged, and the drive-by shooting death of a high-school student in August, have shocked many in the city.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg blamed a recent rule created by the New Mexico Supreme Court, which puts stricter time limits on prosecutors to disclose evidence against accused criminals, saying it led to the dismissal of many cases. Prosecutors were forced to drop an aggravated-battery charge against him earlier this year because they were unable to meet the new time constraints, Ms. Dan Klein, a former, veteran Albuquerque police sergeant, said the mayor’s administration had dragged its feet in addressing long-standing police concerns about low pay and understaffing. Berry said state lawmakers who had failed to pass tough-on-crime laws were at fault, and vowed to put renewed pressure on legislators who opposed them.

The police union noted the department’s 850 officers were well short of the 1,000 it was budgeted for, and said low salaries and bad morale had made recruitment difficult. Shaun Willoughby, the union’s vice president, said the lack of manpower had gutted community policing efforts and left officers scrambling to keep up with calls. “The morale has been bad in the police department in this city for years, and it continues to get worse and worse,” he said. “This is a wake-up call for the city of Albuquerque.” While politicians spar over how to make Albuquerque safer, sensational crimes continue to garner news attention and public outrage. On Tuesday, mourners gathered here for the funeral of the slain 4-year-old girl, Iliana “Lilly” Garcia, who had finished her second day of preschool the day she was killed.

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