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NM Officers Won't Be Charged For Killing Owner Of Wrong House

Three Farmington, N.M., police officers accused of fatally shooting an armed homeowner after going to the wrong house on a domestic violence call will not face prosecution, reports the Associated Press. New Mexico Department of Justice officials said a review showed police made a reasonable attempt to contact the people inside the victim’s home and that the officers “did not foreseeably create an unnecessarily dangerous situation.” Police body camera footage showed Robert Dotson, 52, pointed a firearm at the officers on the night of April 5 and “their use of force was appropriate,” authorities added.

Mark Curnutt, an attorney for Dotson’s family, said police fired more than 20 rounds at his client “despite never being fired at nor even having a firearm pointed at any of the officers.” Dotson “committed no crime, was not a suspect and answered the door after police went to the wrong house,” Curnutt said. “Nothing can return Robert to his family and it appears nothing will be done to hold these officers accountable.” The family have filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that Dotson and his family were deprived of their civil rights when the officers mistakenly showed up. Prosecutors said they met with Dotson’s family to explain their decision and show them the report by Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who now is a law professor at the University of South Carolina. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico said Dotson’s death and others at the hands of officers in New Mexico demonstrate the need for statewide police reform. The ACLU's Barron Jones said Dotson’s case highlights the need for rigorous standards on use of force. “New Mexico has one of the highest per capita rate of killings by police in the nation,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”


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