New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez has charged a Las Cruces police officer in connection with the fatal shooting of Presley Eze. The incident occurred during an altercation between Eze and the officer, identified as Lunsford, on a cellphone video that has been viewed by JURIST. Eze was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range.
Attorney General Torrez described the killing as a tragedy and criticized the police tactics used, stating that it was an unjustifiable use of force to subdue an individual resisting arrest for a minor crime. He emphasized his duty to hold everyone accountable for violations of the law, including police officers who cross the line.
Civil rights advocates, including NAACP President Bobbie Green, commended the charges, expressing gratitude to Attorney General Torrez for seeking accountability. They acknowledged that while the charges cannot bring Presley Eze back, they hope it will provide some comfort to the Eze family. The incident has sparked outrage and controversy in Las Cruces and New Mexico, with advocates claiming it is part of a broader pattern of police officers targeting Black individuals for enforcement and violence.
Presley Eze’s family had previously filed a lawsuit against the City of Las Cruces, alleging a lack of cooperation and failure to provide video evidence. The charges against Officer Lunsford come months after the conviction of Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, which ignited nationwide protests in 2020.