Channel 7 did one of its Target 7 “investigative reports” on narcotics undercover cop APD Detective Jacob Grant being shot eight (8) times point blank in a parked car by his APD Lieutenant James Brachle.
The theme of the Channel 7 investigative report was to explain why former District Attorney Kari Brandenburg did not bring felony criminal charges against Brachle for the shooting and why the New Mexico Attorney General’s office did not bring charges after the case was turned over back in 2015.
Undercover Narcotics Detective Grant was negotiating a drug buy when Brachle rushed the parked car, opened the car door where Grant was sitting and opened fire shooting Grant point blank eight (8) times.
Not at all surprising was Channel 7 broadcasted the graphic and difficult to watch lapel camera video of the shooting as part of its “investigative” report story.
Grant was extremely lucky to survive the shooting, he underwent extensive surgery for his wounds, was hospitalized for months and eventually had to retire from APD because of his permanent physical disabilities related to his injuries from the shooting.
Channel 7 of course made sure it broadcasted old footage of Grant sitting in his hospital bed.
Grant has since left New Mexico but still suffers physical impairment from the shooting.
The Target 7 investigative report missed the mark on so many levels so as to render the report nothing more than just an opportunity to broadcast the graphic lapel camera video of the shooting and holding no one accountable.
The Channel 7 investigative reporter did not aggressively confront the Attorney General’s office why no felony charges were brought after it agreed to take the case over.
The only thing Channel 7 reported was that the Attorney General decided not bring misdemeanor charges after former District Attorney Kari Brandenburg made a referral for felony charges.
The explanation for no prosecution by the Attorney General was that the statute of limitations on misdemeanors had passed including the misdemeanor charge for “negligent use of a firearm”.
Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pino in the Channel 7 report stated that because Brachle was acting in his capacity as a law enforcement officer at the time of the shooting no felony charges could be filed against him under New Mexico law.
The finding by the Attorney General’s office that no felony charges can be brought against Brachle for the shooting of Grant is total and complete nonsense and a fabrication.
The statute of limitations has run on misdemeanor charges but not on all felony charges.
The Assistant Attorney General interviewed by Channel 7 sidestepped the issue of felony charges by saying the former District Attorney could have brought felony charges herself ignoring that the AG office took the case knowing full well the former District Attorney was looking at felony charges.
If the Attorney General’s office did not want to prosecute a police officer for felonies, or because it feels it had a conflict, or it knows the difficulty in convicting any cop before a jury, or feels it will harm the working relationship with law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office should have just said so and returned the case to the current Bernalillo County District Attorney for evaluation.
Instead the Attorney General waited a full year after the former DA left office to say there would be no felony charges.
The fact that the shooting victim was a cop does not negate the fact that the shooting was done by another cop and it was still a police officer involved shooting.
There is no such thing as a “friendly fire” killing or shooting in law enforcement as there is in military combat.
All police officer involved shooting must be investigated and determined if justified.
Whenever a police officer uses deadly force, it must be justified under statutory law as well as APD standard operating procedure, with no room for exceptions.
Just because a police officer is acting in his capacity as a law enforcement officer when he discharges his firearm and injures or kills someone does not completely negate criminal or civil liability of the shooter, a fact not reported by in the Target 7 report.
To put the shooting of Grant by Brachle into focus, former APD Police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez were acting in their capacity as law enforcement officers when they shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd, and they were charged with murder.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree mandates that APD excessive use of force or deadly force cases must be investigated, yet nothing was reported by Target 7 if the Grant shooting was reviewed for violation of APD use of force policies.
The Target 7 investigation did not report that Attorney General Hector Balderas in a letter declining prosecution went out of his way to point out that former APD Chief Gordon Eden never referred Greg Brachle to New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board to investigate the shooting as required by state law.
The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board has the authority to suspend or revoke police certifications.
Attorney General Hector Balderas is the Chairman of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board and he has the authority to order the board’s investigators to review the case to determine if Brachle’s law enforcement certification and license should be revoked.
Balderas failing to make the referral himself to his own board is evidence of political deflection to avoid taking any police oversight responsibility.
No satisfactory explanation was given by the Attorney General’s Office to Channel 7 why felony charges were not brought against former APD Lt. Greg Brachle.
The Target 7 Investigative report failed to ask current Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez if he wanted the Attorney General to refer the case back to his office for another evaluation on felony charges.
Former APD Officer Jacob Grant, the shooting victim, was noble when he told Target 7 he did not want the shooter to be criminally charged, but did say he did want the shooter to never to be a police officer again.
A felony conviction would have guaranteed that Brachle would never be in law enforcement again or for that matter be able to carry a gun.
Ultimately, it was the citizens of Albuquerque that were held financially responsible for the tragic shooting of Jacob Grant that was at the very least negligent.
APD Officer Jacob Grant was paid $6.5 million dollars plus all his medical expenses being paid to settle the civil claim, an important fact that the Target 7 Investigative report omitted.