June 24, 2015

Family of teen killed in Los Altos shooting wants video released

Photo Credit: Justice For Jaquise Lewis

Three months after a shooting that left 17-year-old Jaquise Lewis dead, the Albuquerque Police Department allowed his family to see a video of the shooting for the first time.

Jaquise Lewis Photo Credit: Justice For Jaquise

Jaquise LewisPhoto Credit: Justice For Jaquise 

But just because APD allowed the family to see the video earlier this week, that doesn’t mean the department will be releasing the video to the public. Nor have they revealed the identity of Lewis’ shooter, whom they say killed Lewis in self-defense.

“This case is still an open, active investigation,” APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza told New Mexico Political Report in a statement Wednesday evening. “Video is not being released at this time.”

Lewis was the only person to die after the March 22 shooting at Los Altos Skate Park, which left six others wounded. At a press conference more than a month after the shooting, APD spokesman Tanner Tixier said that Lewis was one of four people who fired shots that night.

Tixier said that APD’s conclusion was based on a video of the shooting and a witness statement. No guns were retrieved that night.

“We have a witness statement that puts Jaquise Lewis as the shooter, but we haven’t forensically confirmed it,” Tixier said at a May press conference.

Yet Lewis’ mother, Munah Green, told New Mexico Political Report that the actual video footage doesn’t come close to supporting this narrative. And she wants the police department to release the video for the public to see.

“The proof that they said they had, they didn’t provide the proof to me at all,” Green said. “Not one time.”

Conflicting accounts

Tixier explained in May that the shooting happened after Lewis and a group of his friends fought with another group of people at Los Altos Skate Park. Tixier said it started when a someone from Lewis’ group asked to borrow a skateboard from a person in the other group.

“A young man went up and asked, ‘Can I get my skateboard back?’” he said at the press conference. “For whatever reason—we don’t know—a fight ensues. This is kind of what kicked off the entire chain of events.”

On Monday, both Green and Lewis’ grandmother for the first time viewed a cellphone video retrieved from the shooting. Green said what she saw in the video doesn’t line up with APD’s official story of what happened that night.

For one, Green said that the video shows Lewis trying to duck away from a fight that’s going on. But soon, a white woman punches Lewis, and Lewis punches her back. After that, a man in a black shirt walks after Lewis.

As the man in the black shirt walks after Lewis, Lewis is seen in the video facing the crowd the man is in and throwing his hands up, according to Green.

“He’s throwing his hands like, ‘Let’s get it! If y’all want to fight, we can fight,’” Green said.

Green said the video shows Lewis turn around and start walking across the street. Then the man in the black shirt shoots Lewis in the back.

“So my son turns his back, and that’s when he gets shot.”

Lewis falls, gets up, starts running and is shot again in the video, according to Green.

Police have said they interviewed Lewis’ shooter and determined he was acting in self defense. Green said she wants to see the man behind bars.

“How do we know that he won’t just go the parking lot and kill somebody else?” she asked. “He’s out free.”