Bodycam Of Las Cruces PD Shooting 75-Year-Old Woman Looks Really BAD
Las Cruces Police have released the bodycam footage of one of their officers shooting a 75-year-old woman with dementia. There were already questions about the death of 75-year-old Amelia Baca. The video that’s been released doesn’t make the shooting look any less justified.
The shooting happened in April, and the Las Cruces chapter of the ACLU was already pressing for more information about the incident. The video is graphic, but it DOES blur out the last second or two before the officer pulls the trigger.
The woman’s family had called the police because Baca, who suffers from a mental health condition, had begun acting aggressively and threatening violence.
The video raises more questions than it answers. Again, viewer discretion is advised.
All versions of this bodycam footage blur out the final, fatal seconds. It looks as though the 75-year-old steps toward the officer, but it’s impossible to see if she raises the knives before she is shot.
Some of the questions people have about the incident:
Why didn’t the officer use LESS lethal force?
In an interview with LCPD, the woman’s granddaughter explains that she thought the officer was pointing a taser, not a handgun, at the grandmother. Immediately after the shots were fired, we can hear the granddaughter saying, “No, it’s a gun. It’s a gun” in Spanish.
Another officer who responded to the scene right before the shooting testified that the officer who shot Baca was armed with his firearm and “nothing else.”
Why “nothing else”? Don’t most cops carry tasers? How about a nightstick? Did the OTHER officer who gave that statement have a less-lethal weapon?
Was Baca an IMMEDIATE danger to the officer?
This is the crucial bit of missing information. Again, because the video is blurred just before the two shots are fired, we can’t see what Baca did in those last seconds. Police and investigators have the unblurred video but only shared the blurred version.
The elderly woman looks frail, confused, and hardly capable of inflicting actual harm on the officer.
Shouldn’t Las Cruce's cops know at least some BASIC Spanish?
Amelia Baca’s granddaughter told a police interviewer that her grandmother neither spoke nor understood English. The officer immediately yells at Baca to set the knives down…in English. Baca says to him in Spanish. Then he screams louder, again in English. Then, louder and with profanity but ALL in English. Many people are questioning why the Las Cruces officer couldn’t give at least simple commands in Spanish. I think it’s a valid question.
Didn’t the officer know she had dementia?
Unclear. In the 911 call, Baca’s daughter tells the operator that her mother suffers from dementia, but it’s not clear if the officer had that information. It’s worth noting the granddaughter said to the officer, “Please be careful” with her grandmother.
The biggest question is whether this officer had any other option than to shoot the elderly woman. The officer is on administrative leave, as is the protocol for the department.