Las Cruces Officer Brad Lunsford reportedly shot Presley Eze after a gas station employee reported to 911 that Eze had gone without paying for a beverage.
At a press conference, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez informed reporters that while Las Cruces Officer Brad Lunsford was booked on Tuesday, he was not detained by the authorities.
The attorney general’s office claims that on the afternoon of August 2, 2022, Lunsford shot Presley Eze at a Chevron petrol station after an employee reported to 911 that Eze had left the shop without paying for a beverage.
The first officer on the scene was Lunsford. After questioning Eze, Lunsford was “unable to verify Eze’s identity,” according to a press release from the attorney general’s office. As a result, the officer “forcibly removed Eze from the vehicle to detain him.”
On August 2, 2022, Presley Eze was taken into custody by police at a New Mexico gas station.
Eze reportedly fought efforts to take him into arrest while he was naked and unarmed. A “scuffle ensued,” according to the attorney general’s office, and Eze ended up on the ground on top of one of the responding police.
According to the press release, Eze touched the second officer’s taser, and in retaliation, Lunsford drew out his revolver and shot Eze on the left side of his skull at close range.
Lunsford’s attorney, Luis Robles, did not answer an email seeking comment on Thursday.
At Tuesday’s attorney general’s press conference, a family spokeswoman revealed that Eze was the eldest son of Nigerian immigrants residing in Connecticut. Per the statement, he was employed at a Las Cruces assisted living facility.
After reviewing body camera evidence and speaking with experts on the use of force, the attorney general’s office looked into the death and found that the officer’s use of fatal force was “not reasonable under the circumstances.”
“The killing of Presley Eze is a tragedy and serves as yet 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,” Torrez told the press.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the public’s awareness of police deaths of Black Americans, which has sparked social justice demonstrations and brought claims of police brutality back to light.