DA Torrez critical over APD's witness canvassing after Monday night protest | KOB 4

DA Torrez critical over APD's witness canvassing after Monday night protest

Megan Abundis
Created: June 17, 2020 10:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez is searching for more witnesses who were at a Monday night protest at Tiguex Park that dissolved into chaos after a protester was shot by 31-year-old Steven Baca.

Torrez said the lack of control over the scene poses some big challenges for prosecutors.

After the protest, APD recovered guns, knives and ammunition. Torrez first asked about what weapons were at the scene and who they belonged to.

"We don't have yet a complete inventory from the APD about who collected those items. Were they all put together and assigned ownership to somebody? Did we interview each individual person or did we just gather up weapons?" he asked.

The biggest question that still needs an answer is whether Scott Williams, the shooting victim from Monday night, had a knife in his hand during his confrontation with Steven Baca.

"There was some contention that he was armed. The only item we could see in his possession are the eye glasses falling from him in this moment,” Torrez said.

Steven Baca’s attorney believes Williams was armed with a knife and used it to threaten Baca before he pulled the trigger.

Torrez said that APD’s handling of the situation in regard to gathering witness interviews raises concerns.

"More importantly and more troubling from our perspective is the fact that after APD and police arrived at the scene because of the dynamic situation and the tense situation that developed between police officers and members of the crowd protesters and counter protesters there were tactics that were used by APD that made it impossible for key witnesses to the event to actually make statements,” Torrez said.

Some witnesses from the protest agreed.

“…and they are not interviewing us and not asking for photos, videos, not treating us like witnesses. They are treating us like criminals,” said one witness.

At least 50 protesters were at the scene after the shooting occurred.

State Police now have to quickly identify key witnesses, gather video and documents so the district attorney can make a decision on charges.

"I don't know the names of all three victims, I don't know the names of the critical witness and I don't have that information because of the way the police situation unfolded,” Torrez said.

"I hope there are going to be some various serious changes in the way they deal with people because community policing demands that we develop better relationships,” he added.

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