Family calls for independent investigation into SWAT standoff

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There are new calls Monday for an independent investigation into a SWAT standoff that turned deadly last week.

Albuquerque police said 15-year-old Brett Rosenau died of smoke inhalation after a home they were at caught fire during the standoff.

Rosenau’s family is joining calls from the ACLU of New Mexico to get New Mexico’s attorney general involved.

There are a lot of questions about what happened, and they want the attorney general’s office to provide that transparency and accountability they say the community deserves.

Family members said 15-year-old Brett Rosenau was full of life and potential, and the best brother you could ask for.

Through attorneys, family members said his untimely death was avoidable.

Attorneys with Rothstein Donatelli, LLP, sent KOB 4 the following statement:

“The police conduct on July 6, 2022, can only be described as tragic and completely avoidable. The police had every opportunity to save Brett’s life but instead chose inaction. Brett’s family and community are forever left without their son, brother, and friend. There will be an unfillable void by the loss of his life.”

Rosenau was found dead inside the home in southeast Albuquerque.

Albuquerque police said they were after Qiaunt Kelley, who was wanted for several violent crimes.

“It just kind of speaks to the lack of patience within the department when it comes to carrying out these types of exercises. I think, step back, assess the situation and give it time,” said Barron Jones, senior strategist for the ACLU of New Mexico.

Jones said they want to understand what exactly happened.

APD said they activated powder irritants inside the home in an attempt to get both men to exit.

“We’ve heard the stories that it’s possible these could start fires but we’ve never experienced that here,” said APD Police Chief Harold Medina during a briefing.

They are looking into what happened, but the ACLU and now attorneys representing Rosenau’s family said they want independent eyes taking another look.

“This is just a holistic approach in unpacking what occurred in some of our police situations and I think it can go a long way. Not only for the accountability piece but it’s also and educational piece. I often think these things as the athletes who go back and look at the film. They look at the film to get better,” said Jones.

Meanwhile, Rosenau’s family has their own attorneys to investigate the events that led to his death, including what happened at the scene.

Attorney General Hector Balderas sent KOB 4 the following statement:

“I am troubled by the recent loss of life of the young teenager in our community, and my office will offer assistance to ensure that appropriate actions were taken during this law enforcement operation.”

AFR is conducting an arson investigation. Officials with APD said a multi-agency task force is conducting a criminal investigation. The results of that will be forwarded to the district attorney for review.

There will also be an administrative investigation to determine whether any policies were violated.

Rosenau’s family has a donation page set up for funeral expenses: Brett Rosenau Funeral Expenses | GoGetFunding

There will be a candlelight vigil Friday, July 15 at 8 p.m. at Albuquerque Civic Plaza.