KOB Web Staff
Updated: July 22, 2020 08:25 PM
Created: July 22, 2020 11:13 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Attorney General Hector Balderas formally requested to take over the case of Elisha Lucero from District Attorney Raul Torrez.
"As elected prosecutors, we have an obligation to ensure the justice system works effectively and efficiently to ensure, among other things, that the rights of victims and their families are justly represented," said AG Balderas in a letter to Raul Torrez. "This is an obligation I trust that you hold a mutual sanctity for."
Balderas said he was contacted by the family of Elisha Lucero and asked to review the circumstances of her death. It has been one year since she was shot and killed by BCSO deputies.
Her family called BCSO for help because she was in the middle of a mental health crisis. Deputies said Elisha charged at them with a knife. She was shot 21 times.
"Because BCSO refused to utilize body-worn cameras at this time, the incident was not captured visually; Elisha, however, can be heard wailing in agony on the deputies' belt tapes as she died," Balderas wrote.
At the time, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales said audio belt recorders were sufficient in capturing deputy interactions. In response to a new law that requires law enforcement to wear body cameras, Gonzales said last week that body cameras are outdated technology. He is proposing to use smartphones instead.
Lucero's sister, Elaine Maestas, said she's pleased with the new law, but she isn't done pushing for accountability.
"Clearly, it's happened to our family and it was a huge wake up call. And if this can happen to Elisha, it can happen to anybody," Maestas said.
Balderas has also asked for Torrez to decline prosecution of this matter so Balderas' prosecutors can begin their review in order to seek justice for Lucero and her family.
To read the full letter from the attorney general, click here.
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