Albuquerque parents Stephen Torres and Renetta Torres have penned an open letter about the police department whose irresponsibility resulted in the death of their 27-year-old son in 2011. According to the Albuquerque Journal, police were attempting to confront Christopher Torres about a road rage incident before the situation took a turn, leading to the police fatally shooting the mentally ill man to death.
A judge had lambasted the behavior of the police at the time of their trial, granting the family upwards of $6 million in a payout from the incident.
Now, Christopher's parents are addressing the department in a letter published in both the Albuquerque Journal and on Huffington Post. The family is now advocating for the group Albuquerque Police Department Forward (APD Forward), which, in their words, is "a nonpartisan, diverse coalition of organizations and family members who have lost loved ones to police violence." They're looking to discuss police relations with candidates for the city's mayor.
"Our worst fears came true when two Albuquerque Police Department detectives killed our son in 2011," they write. "Christopher, who was 27 years old and diagnosed with schizophrenia, was at home alone when he was shot by the detectives. The court would later rule the officers had acted aggressively toward Christopher and created an unnecessarily dangerous situation.'
The city ultimately paid our family millions of dollars as a result of lawsuits filed on his behalf, but that money means nothing to us, because it cannot bring back our son. Christopher was a kind, caring young man, and we never want another family to go through the pain we did."
In the letter, the Torres family also discuss the unwillingness of police to comply with their requests: "[T]he independent monitoring team appointed to oversee the reform process has found that in some instances, members of the APD executive and command staff engage in 'deliberate resistance' to reform," they say. "This is particularly alarming, because many of the most challenging reforms, such as establishing systems to ensure effective use-of-force investigations, still haven’t happened yet. At this rate, the reform process could stretch on for many years and cost our city millions more."
Currently, both candidates for Albuquerque mayor have promised to replace the city's current police chief, meaning that they will have the opportunity to appoint a new person in that role. The ADP is currently in talks with various organizations about the responsibilities the new chief will have.
"[We] desperately needs new, dynamic, creative leadership if we are ever going to get the professional, effective police department our city deserves," the letter concludes.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]