The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, must pay more than $6 million in connection with the wrongful death of a man with schizophrenia killed by Albuquerque police, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The ruling comes as the city of Albuquerque is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department over pending police reforms following a scathing report faulting Albuquerque police for their excessive use of force and the way officers handle suspects battling mental illness.
Albuquerque police officers have been involved in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal, since 2010. The city’s rate of deadly force rivals that of New York City, according to Micah McCoy with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. New York City is 15 times larger by population than Albuquerque.
District Court Judge Shannon Bacon said on Tuesday that officers were not acting in self-defense when they punched and shot Christopher Torres, 27, in his backyard in 2011.
Bacon also wrote that the use of deadly force violated Torres' constitutional rights.