February 27, 2024


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


As local community teams demand solutions just after a teen died of smoke inhalation throughout the class of a law enforcement raid, New Mexico Lawyer Common Hector Balderas stated Wednesday that his workplace will independently review the department’s managing of the incident. 

Brett Rosenau, 15, died before this thirty day period immediately after an hourslong SWAT standoff finished with a property fireplace that may perhaps have been ignited by chemical munitions set off by regulation enforcement as they ended up making an attempt to arrest one more man or woman inside of, police explained. 

A multiagency investigation that law enforcement say will acquire two weeks is previously underway, but Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina has asked Balderas to intervene “out of an abundance of caution.”

“If the chemical machine is identified to be the induce of the hearth, I would also ask for that your place of work supply us with an unbiased analysis of the device and deployment strategies,” Medina claimed in a letter to Balderas.

Balderas said the “tragic loss of life of this 15-calendar year-aged is a really serious make any difference that warrants a detailed overview.” He also reported his office has taken techniques to assemble a staff to take a look at the managing of the incident and perform an analysis of the use of tactical gadgets.  

Law enforcement have mentioned on July 6 they were being attempting to arrest Qiaunt Kelley, 27, for violating his probation after staying convicted of armed carjacking and stolen car or truck when he retreated into a household as officers approached him. The teenage boy followed him within and remained with him for hours as police reported they attempted to coax them out peacefully. 

Officers also employed a drone and robots “to figure out who was within the house and to activate powder irritants inside the home to get the men and women to exit,” law enforcement claimed. An hour later, the property was on fireplace. As firefighters arrived, Kelley ran out of the residence, but Rosenau was identified dead inside. 

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

Law enforcement have not explained how extensive the hearth burned just before firefighters arrived. Kelley was taken to the medical center with melt away accidents and then arrested on exceptional warrants.

“In our effort to observe down and arrest a violent felony, a younger individual tragically dropped his lifestyle,” Medina reported a number of days following the incident. “If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to his death, we will get steps to make sure this in no way transpires once again.”

Rosenau’s dying touched off a collection of protests across Albuquerque, with demonstrators, which include the boy’s household, demanding police accountability and contacting the officers’ steps unnecessarily weighty-handed. 

In individual, Rosenau’s family members has elevated inquiries about the law enforcement conclusion to deploy chemical irritants into the property, which Medina said may perhaps have caused the fire. 

“From our vantage point that would seem overkill,” reported Taylor Smith, an legal professional representing the boy’s spouse and children. “From what we know and stories we heard not lengthy following the incident, police were being aware that a minimal little one was in the home nevertheless chose to do this.”

Rosenau was explained by his spouse and children in a assertion as a “smart and amusing young boy who walked to the beat of his have drum.”

His family members stated his “teachers generally thought that he would pursue engineering given his ingenuity and skills.”

Louie Sanchez, an Albuquerque Town Councilor and chair of the city’s public safety committee reported his committee will critique the lawyer general’s investigation after it can be complete.

“As a father, 26-year regulation enforcement veteran, and chairman of the Albuquerque Public Basic safety Committee, I express my deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the deceased teen,” he stated in a assertion.

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

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico also urged the attorney general’s workplace to perform an unbiased investigation into Rosenau’s demise. 

“There was a boy or girl within the property and they designed the decision to use the chemical weapon recognizing that, so there looks to be failure on some amount to retrieve him,” Leon Howard, authorized director of the ACLU of New Mexico stated. “There was no indicator that there was some quick risk of danger that needed this variety of escalation.”

Police say they employed a “Tri-Chamber Flameless CS Grenade,” a gadget officers have employed a selection of periods in excess of many years without incident. 

A 2015 security facts sheet expected by the Occupational Security and Wellbeing Administration, which seems on the product’s web site, warns that the grenade contains “flammable solid” and that the “product may well explode if burned in confined space.” 

“Individual cartridges may perhaps explode. Mass explosion of many cartridges at once is not likely,” the safety info sheet suggests. It provides that the product or service must be utilized “only outside or in a effectively-ventilated location.” 

The web site for Protection Technologies, the product’s maker, points out the unit was “designed mostly for indoor tactical predicaments.”

Keith Taylor, an assistant professor at John Jay School of Criminal Justice and former SWAT officer, stated legislation enforcement ought to choose a quantity of elements into thing to consider right before deploying chemical munitions, which includes who could be impacted. 

“The improvement of a tactical system is essential,” he claimed. “You want to evaluate who is going to occur in get hold of with these weapons.” 

When deploying weapons this sort of as tear gasoline, chemical munitions and sounds flash diversionary gadgets — all applied by Albuquerque officers throughout the July 6 incident — the law enforcement prepare should really look at if there are elderly older people or minors existing for the reason that smoke and chemical substances can have an outsized influence on them, he reported. 

As the police response is examined, investigators will possible consider how much time police experienced to formulate their system and no matter if they adopted standard operating technique for deploying chemical weapons indoors, Taylor mentioned.

For occasion, he reported, it’s frequently very good follow to have firefighters on site in advance of the deployment of chemical munitions. 

The Albuquerque Police Division is under a federal consent decree agreed upon in 2014 following the U.S. government determined it had a pattern of excessive power. Below the agreement, the division is needed to report facts of the investigations to the Division of Justice and its independent federal keep track of. 

The department has reported it will publicly release footage of the incident captured by law enforcement, by drone, and other movies. 


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