New Mexico cops shot and killed a man after they claimed he “lunged” at them with a knife Sunday afternoon.
But a video recorded by a witness does not really show a man lunging towards police on a median surrounded by traffic in Las Cruces.
However, the video is recorded from a distance, so I’ll let you be the judge on that.
What you will see is cops surrounding a man, then a volley of gunfire as a car drives in front of the camera, then the man is down on the ground.
But you would think a knife that is almost the length of a man’s arm would be visible even from a distance.
Las Cruces police say the man they killed was Juan Gabriel Torres, 36, who they say stole a white pickup truck about 90 minutes earlier.
A witness said Torres hopped out of the truck and tried to get into the passenger side of his car where his son was sitting, but he never mentioned a knife
He even said he “didn’t feel threatened by the man,” according to the Las Cruces Sun-News:
Las Cruces resident Martin Rodriguez witnessed the start of the incident that led to the officer-involved shooting. He said he was driving eastbound on Lohman Avenue and stopped at the traffic light just west of I-25, alongside a new-looking, white truck in the lane just to the right of him. Both vehicles began driving east at normal speeds when the light turned green. However, Rodriguez said, the white truck abruptly stopped, and a Hispanic man, possibly in his 20s, jumped out and ran toward the passenger side of Rodriguez’s vehicle.
“He knocked on the window and tried to open my son’s door,” he said.
Rodriguez said he didn’t feel threatened by the man. Rather, Rodriguez said he was aware that the funeral for Hatch Police Officer José Chavez was likely wrapping up, a possible cause for the commotion. Also, there’d been another civilian vehicle behind the white truck, and Rodriguez had speculated that the man might have been fleeing that car for some reason.
KOAT News picks up the narrative from there, saying Torres was carrying a knife.
Police say officers had responded to a home about a stolen pickup truck.
Officers later spotted the vehicle on the bridge where the driver confronted police while a knife.
Police say Torres refused to drop the knife and lunged toward one of the officers before being shot.
While it may be true that Torres lunged towards the officer, it is also very common for cops to resort to that word after killing a person holding a knife or screwdriver or saw, even if they did not lunge.
But maybe police simply do not know the definition of lunging.