New Mexico city banning police chokeholds in $6.5M wrongful death settlement

New Mexico city banning police chokeholds in $6.5M wrongful death ...


 New Mexico city will pay $6.5 million to the family of a Mexican American man who died after he was placed in a chokehold during a traffic stop.


The city will also work to set up a warning system for officers who use excessive force and craft an annual mental health exam policy. Any police reforms must be approved by the city council.

Former Las Cruces officer Christopher Smelser has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Valenzuela, which occurred in February.

Valenzuela, 40, had a warrant out for his arrest because of a parole violation and ran from Smelser when the officer tried to detain him.

Smelser can be heard on police camera footage saying, “I’m going to [expletive] choke you out, bro” as he chases Valenzuela.

Once he caught up, Smelser used on a Taser on Valenzuela, who continued to struggle, and when Smelser was unable to restrain him, the officer applied a chokehold, authorities said.

An autopsy concluded that Valenzuela died from asphyxial injuries, and a coroner ruled his death a homicide.

New Mexico city banning police chokeholds in $6.5M wrongful death settlement New Mexico city banning police chokeholds in $6.5M wrongful death settlement Reviewed by Anson Moore on August 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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