‘No one is above the law,’ New Mexico D.A. warns on anniversary of deadly ‘Rust’ shooting
By Alex Wroblewski, Special to NBC News
Saturday, April 3, 2013
In the first three months of this year, there have been six homicides in Albuquerque, more than in any other city in the country. This is the number of homicides in Albuquerque for the full year so far — more than two per week for all the years of our state’s existence.
New Mexico is No. 1 in the nation, with 11, but with only a little more than one in six residents being a victim of homicide.
The problem, as New Mexico D.A. Tim Keller has said, is that we have no one to shoot.
Keller has told his fellow prosecutors in the New Mexico District Attorney’s Office that he wants to stop the bloodshed. He wants New Mexicans to believe that they have a chance to live in a state where they are not the targets of gunfire.
The state has made it clear that it’s willing to prosecute people who break the law, but not to shoot them from the police department’s SWAT team. The governor has told them repeatedly to take a break, and to focus on the real problem, which is that a lot of people are getting killed, and the number of shootings continue to rise.
But, Keller says, “Our statistics show that people aren’t being shot. So, I have to go home each day… and come in and say to myself, there’s a problem.”
Now, some prosecutors are asking the Legislature to do something about it. They’re pushing a bill that would allow someone, not just their employer, to file a lawsuit against an individual or a business.
Keller and his staff have been working on what he calls “the most comprehensive proposal for addressing police shootings in the history” of the state.
“It comes from all parts of the state of New Mexico,” he told me in an interview. “It’s a statewide initiative and it’s not only for the public safety purposes, but to let us put a face to the problem.”
The bill would allow any citizen, from any part of the state, to file a lawsuit to hold a