APD officer fired after using questionable use of force during arrest

[anvplayer video=”5162214″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque police say they have fired an officer for what happened while he was arresting someone. The decision came after officers tried to arrest a man for shoplifting. 

An APD spokesperson told KOB 4 there was no “lawful reason” to arrest the man. 

It happened at the Target on Coors and Paseo in August 2022. On that night, now former APD Officer Kenneth Skeens and two other officers were initially called out after reports of shoplifters in the store. 

According to the criminal complaint, Skeens says the Target loss prevention employee told him there was another “shoplifter” at self check-out. 

In the video, people can hear the officers talking about the man, and then they approach him.

Officer: “Hi sir, Albuquerque police. Go ahead and grab all your money and let’s go ahead and walk out ok? Go head and stop, stop you’re done. Albuquerque police you’re detained you’re not free to leave.”

The man appears confused and doesn’t want to leave, but the officers start pulling him out.

Officer: “We’re walking out “

Man: “I’m calling 911.”

Repeatedly, the man says he didn’t know they were police officers.

Man: “I didn’t see your badge.”

Officer: “Well we told you right, it’s not our fault you didn’t look man.”

Officer Skeens’ attorney, John D’Amato, says Skeens was fired on Feb. 3.

According to APD, Skeens was fired because there was no reason to arrest the man and the incident led to use of force. 

Skeens’ attorney says if there was no reason to arrest the man why didn’t the loss prevention people try and stop the officers?

In a statement, APD Chief Harold Medina said “our expectations are very clear: Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.” 

The charges against the man were later dropped after he was deemed incompetent. 

Skeens was also involved in a shooting just a week after the Target incident.  

APD says he and two other officers shot and killed Keshawn Thomas at a gas station on Coors and Quail. That was after they found him asleep in his car with an open container in his cupholder. 

According to APD, the officers let Thomas go back to his car to grab his cell phone, and that’s when they say they saw a gun and shot at Thomas.

APD says officers later found a gun on the floor of Thomas’s car. 

A spokesperson says Skeens and the other two officers violated APD’s de-escalation policy.

The other officers also failed to provide medical attention to Thomas after the shooting. 

An internal investigation by APD says “poor tactics” were used by the officers in this shooting.