Things That Matter

Body Cam Footage Reveals 75-Year-Old Woman Gunned Down by Las Cruces Police Officer

An unidentified Las Cruces, New Mexico, police officer shot and killed a 75-year-old woman named Amelia Baca, who suffered from dementia and did not speak English. Newly released body cam footage shows the unnamed officer screaming commands at Baca for more than 30 seconds before firing two shots into her chest.

This body cam footage comes with a massive trigger warning. It is extremely disturbing and graphic.

The shooting initially took place on April 16, but body cam footage wasn’t made public until this week. The video, which runs just over 11 minutes, shows the officer clearing the home of Baca’s daughter and granddaughter before pointing his firearm at Baca, who is seen holding two knives and looking disoriented.

Baca’s granddaughter, Albitar Inoh, had this to say about the incident:

“When we got here, my grandma was holding the knives in the living room, both knives in her hand, not pointing at anyone. I came I said, ‘Hey grandma what are you doing?’ Trying to calm her down because she is not mentally alright. She said, ‘Well these people they come and start telling me, trying to scare me, she’s scaring me, she’s doing stuff, she’s scaring me, she’s scaring me.'”

Inoh continues, explaining, “[The officer] was outside the door, my grandma was inside the living room. He started yelling and I got out of the front of him and my grandma was just standing there, she was standing looking at us with her knives down, not pointing, both of them are in her hand. She was just standing, she looked confused. She didn’t look like she understood what was going on.”

The officer was reportedly made aware of Baca’s mental illness and dementia-related issues, but ignored Inoh and shot Baca instead. The scene then devolved into barely contained chaos, with Inoh and her mother screaming outside while the officer who shot Baca investigated the home, clearing one more person out of the property.

“I was trying to calm my mom down telling her, ‘Mom it’s a Taser, it’s a Taser calm down, calm down mom, she’s gonna be fine,'” said Inoh.

A second officer arrived at the scene and kept Inoh and her mother from intervening. According to an article in CBS 4 Local, “The officer confirmed that he moved the women back away from the initial officer because he didn’t want them to ‘interfere with what was going on.'”

Activists are now calling for the arrest of the unidentified officer who shot Baca, seemingly in cold blood with no real motivation to do so.

According to the outlet, “The Dona Ana County Officer-Involved Incident Task Force made up of the New Mexico State Police, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State University Police Department, and the Las Cruces Police Department are investigating the incident. The case will also be reviewed by the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico (ACLU) has called for a thorough and transparent investigation into the shooting.”

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