Albuquerque, NM-- Albuquerque Police Department's five months without a shooting has come to an end as an Albuquerque police officer remains in critical condition after being shot by a fellow officer on Friday.
The unnamed officer was shot while undercover during a drug operation to bust two men for $60 worth of meth. Another officer sustained minor injuries, but information on how has not been released.
Police have not released the names of any of the officers who were involved, but criminal complaints filed in Metropolitan Court against the two targets of the investigation identify the undercover officers as detectives Holly Garcia and Jacob Grant, The Albuquerque Journal reported.
According to the criminal complaint, Garcia and Grant met a suspect to buy $60 worth of “shards,” another term for meth. The suspects got into Garcia's car and she drove them to an Econo Lodge Motel. One of the suspects went into a room and returned to Garcia's vehicle with the meth.
Garcia then went to a McDonald’s parking lot and gave the signal to begin the bust, the shooting took place shortly after.
Witnesses report that they heard around five shots, and the officer was shot multiple times, but the exact number has not yet been released.
Police have not yet come forward with any explanation as to why an officer opened fire, but it appears as though both of the suspects were unarmed. The pair was taken into custody on drug trafficking charges following the shooting.
Media, police, and citizens are grieving and expressing condolences, but what they are not doing is discussing why this really happened.
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We don't need all the details to be able to safely assume the undercover officer was not a threat to their peers, yet they were shot anyway. Media is discussing this event using words like "tragedy" and "accident" while ignoring the fact that this is a symptom of a much larger problem, and it seems that an officer once again shot someone who posed no threat to them.
This trigger happy officer, who opened fire and shot someone who posed no danger to them, multiple times, is “devastated” according to Police Chief Gorden Eden. The lieutenant is currently on administrative leave and "getting support" through the department’s counseling services.
Police even went so far as to confiscate a witness's cell phone after he had recorded some of the incident.
While brutality is clearly a nationwide issue, the APD has claimed some major notoriety for their badge abuse. Since 2010, the department has had 41 officer involved shootings, 27 of which were fatal.
In April, the department was accused of using excessive force by the Justice Department after the frightening murder of the homeless James Boyd when he was approached for “illegally camping.” Boyd was shot by an officer who had discussed his plans to shoot him in the penis hours prior. Their own police chief openly admitted that he is stuck with officers who should not be on the force.
Had the person this officer mistakenly shot, under the exact same circumstances, been one of the suspects- we would likely already know their entire history, the history of all relatives, and have been spoon fed some wild tale about the officer "fearing for their life" and having no other choice. The shooting would be written off and ultimately swept away and forgotten by the media.
Police and police apologists have not victim blamed the unnamed officer.
So was this a "tragic accident" as they say, or evidence of the systemic lack of care taken by reckless officers as they reach for their weapons?
Perhaps we should call it what it is- one more victim of our militarized police and the disastrous drug war. Nobody is safe, not even those standing behind the thin blue line.