Monday, June 7, 2010

New Mexico Man’s Death at Hands of Police Leads to Lawsuit

When it comes to deciding whether to inflict injury on a suspect, police officers often walk a very fine line. Although most police departments allow officers to use force when they feel their own safety is threatened, they have an ethical obligation to inflict as little harm as possible in the process of subduing the suspect.

An even more complex situation exists when a suspect may be suicidal and may be goading the police into inflicting deadly harm. This is exactly the situation that witnesses say transpired when members of the Las Cruces, New Mexico municipal police force arrived at the home of 25-year-old Antonio Medrano in January 2010. Medrano was wielding a baseball bat and an 8-inch knife and ignored repeated requests to drop the weapon. Eventually, the police shot Medrano five times, inflicting a fatal wound in the process.

Although internal police department documents classify the shooting as justified, the wrongful death suit filed by Medrano’s family claims that they had been warned that the suspect may have been trying to commit “suicide by cop.” As such, the suit claims, the officers should have taken additional care to subdue Medrano using non-lethal methods.

If you or a family member has been harmed due to another’s negligence, we can help you understand your legal options. Contact the attorneys at The Heller Law Firm for a free consultation, or call us direct at 866-461-5791. You will hear from us either the same day or within 24 hours.