New Mexico attorney general will review Albuquerque police actions that led to teen’s death during raid

As group groups need responses following a teenager died of smoke inhalation through the course of a law enforcement raid, New Mexico Lawyer Normal Hector Balderas reported Wednesday that his business office will independently evaluation the department’s handling of the incident. 

Brett Rosenau, 15, died earlier this thirty day period immediately after an hourslong SWAT standoff ended with a residence fireplace that may perhaps have been ignited by chemical munitions established off by law enforcement as they had been attempting to arrest yet another human being inside of, police explained. 

A multiagency investigation that police say will acquire two weeks is by now underway, but Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina has requested Balderas to intervene “out of an abundance of caution.”

“If the chemical machine is determined to be the trigger of the fireplace, I would also ask for that your place of work give us with an impartial evaluation of the unit and deployment strategies,” Medina reported in a letter to Balderas.

Balderas mentioned the “tragic death of this 15-calendar year-previous is a really serious matter that warrants a complete evaluate.” He also claimed his office environment has taken steps to assemble a workforce to look at the managing of the incident and conduct an investigation of the use of tactical products.  

Police have explained on July 6 they had been making an attempt to arrest Qiaunt Kelley, 27, for violating his probation immediately after getting convicted of armed carjacking and stolen automobile when he retreated into a dwelling as officers approached him. The teenage boy followed him inside and remained with him for hrs as law enforcement said they attempted to coax them out peacefully. 

Officers also utilised a drone and robots “to establish who was inside the home and to activate powder irritants inside of the property to get the persons to exit,” police said. An hour later, the house was on fire. As firefighters arrived, Kelley ran out of the home, but Rosenau was discovered dead within. 

Image: Brett Rosenau
A charred toy by a makeshift memorial Sunday on the front porch of the burned home the place Brett Rosenau died in Albuquerque, N.M.Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal by way of ZUMA

Law enforcement have not explained how extensive the fireplace burned before firefighters arrived. Kelley was taken to the hospital with burn up injuries and then arrested on outstanding warrants.

“In our hard work to monitor down and arrest a violent legal, a youthful person tragically missing his lifestyle,” Medina mentioned a handful of times following the incident. “If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to his loss of life, we will just take ways to ensure this under no circumstances takes place once again.”

Rosenau’s demise touched off a series of protests throughout Albuquerque, with demonstrators, like the boy’s household, demanding law enforcement accountability and contacting the officers’ actions unnecessarily large-handed. 

In distinct, Rosenau’s family members has elevated questions about the law enforcement selection to deploy chemical irritants into the property, which Medina reported may well have brought on the fire. 

“From our vantage position that seems overkill,” claimed Taylor Smith, an lawyer representing the boy’s household. “From what we know and reviews we read not very long just after the incident, law enforcement were being mindful that a slight little one was in the property however chose to do this.”

Rosenau was described by his loved ones in a assertion as a “smart and humorous younger boy who walked to the conquer of his personal drum.”

His family members claimed his “teachers normally believed that he would go after engineering presented his ingenuity and abilities.”

Louie Sanchez, an Albuquerque City Councilor and chair of the city’s public safety committee reported his committee will evaluation the attorney general’s investigation as soon as it truly is total.

“As a father, 26-year regulation enforcement veteran, and chairman of the Albuquerque General public Safety Committee, I categorical my deepest condolences to the relatives and mates of the deceased teenager,” he reported in a statement.

Brett Rosenau with his mother.
Brett Rosenau with his mom.Courtesy Rothstein Donatelli Law

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico also urged the lawyer general’s office to conduct an independent investigation into Rosenau’s demise. 

“There was a child inside of the property and they built the decision to use the chemical weapon understanding that, so there appears to be to be failure on some amount to retrieve him,” Leon Howard, lawful director of the ACLU of New Mexico explained. “There was no sign that there was some instant menace of danger that needed this variety of escalation.”

Police say they applied a “Tri-Chamber Flameless CS Grenade,” a device officers have utilized a amount of moments about several yrs devoid of incident. 

A 2015 basic safety facts sheet necessary by the Occupational Protection and Wellbeing Administration, which appears on the product’s internet site, warns that the grenade consists of “flammable solid” and that the “product might explode if burned in confined area.” 

“Individual cartridges may perhaps explode. Mass explosion of a lot of cartridges at at the time is not likely,” the protection facts sheet claims. It adds that the item should be applied “only outdoors or in a perfectly-ventilated area.” 

The internet site for Protection Technology, the product’s producer, points out the system was “designed primarily for indoor tactical conditions.”

Keith Taylor, an assistant professor at John Jay Faculty of Felony Justice and former SWAT officer, explained regulation enforcement need to take a selection of components into thought prior to deploying chemical munitions, such as who could be influenced. 

“The progress of a tactical approach is crucial,” he mentioned. “You need to have to evaluate who is going to come in get hold of with these weapons.” 

When deploying weapons this kind of as tear gas, chemical munitions and sound flash diversionary devices — all applied by Albuquerque officers in the course of the July 6 incident — the police plan need to take into consideration if there are elderly grownups or minors existing due to the fact smoke and chemicals can have an outsized impact on them, he mentioned. 

As the law enforcement reaction is examined, investigators will probably take into consideration how considerably time police had to formulate their strategy and no matter if they followed typical operating method for deploying chemical weapons indoors, Taylor stated.

For occasion, he explained, it is typically superior practice to have firefighters on web-site before the deployment of chemical munitions. 

The Albuquerque Law enforcement Office is under a federal consent decree agreed upon in 2014 immediately after the U.S. govt decided it experienced a pattern of abnormal pressure. Below the agreement, the section is expected to report details of the investigations to the Section of Justice and its impartial federal observe. 

The office has said it will publicly launch footage of the incident captured by police, by drone, and other movies.