Police Answered Rocks With Tank, Mom Says

ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – Albuquerque police responded to a report of a man throwing rocks with a tank, robots, flash bangs and 150 rounds of tear gas, the dead man’s family claims in court.
     Santiago Chavez killed himself after a 12-hour standoff that began when officers were dispatched to investigate a report of someone throwing rocks, his estate claimed Wednesday in Federal Court.
     Officers found no evidence of rock-throwing, but neighbors said Chavez had a gun but hadn’t threatened or assaulted anyone with it, his mother Rachael Hernandez said in the lawsuit.
     When officers went to Chavez’s home on June 12, 2012 and demanded he come out to speak with them, Chavez refused, so they called in the SWAT team. As the standoff continued and intensified, Chavez, who had a history of mental illness, began to threaten suicide.
     The SWAT teams “sent in baton rounds, played sirens, shot chemical munitions into the home, shot tear gas into the home, utilized robots to breach the entry to the home, sent robots into the home, used a bear cat to deploy chemical munitions, and utilized multiple other SWAT Tactics, during which decedent could be heard to be yelling, ‘The police are trying to kill me,'” his mother says in the complaint.
     The incident ended when Chavez shot himself in the head in view of New Mexico police Officer Shane Todd, who wrote at the end of his police report, “Mission complete,” according to the lawsuit.
     Chavez’s mother seeks punitive damages from Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department and APD Officers Jim Fox and Moises Grossetete, for wrongful death, excessive force, warrantless arrest, and other civil rights violations.
     She is represented by Rachel Higgins and Kari Morrissey.
     Albuquerque police have been widely criticized for excessive use of force, by citizens and federal investigators.

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