New Mexico attorney general has charged a police officer in the shooting death of a Black man

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez on Tuesday announced that a police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Black man during a confrontation at a gas station.

Las Cruces Police Officer Brad Lunsford was booked on the single charge and released on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for Torrez said. A voicemail left at the office of Lunsford’s attorney, Jess Lilley, was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

Lunsford allegedly shot Presley Eze, 36, on Aug. 2, 2022, at a Las Cruces gas station after a gas station employee called 911 to report that he saw Eze leaving with beer he did not pay for, authorities say.

Lunsford was the first officer to arrive. During a scuffle, Eze ended up on the ground on top of a second officer and he placed his hand on that officer’s Taser.

Lunsford drew his handgun and allegedly shot Eze once on the back left side of his head at point-blank range.

On Tuesday, Eze’s parents, his wife and his son joined Torrez for the news conference in Las Cruces to announce the filing of the charge.

Torrez said his office consulted with use-of-force experts who concluded that the use of deadly force was not reasonable under the circumstances.

The attorney general called Eze’s death “another example of poor police tactics resulting in an unjustifiable use of force to subdue an individual resisting arrest for the commission of a minor crime.”

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