It was an undercover operation to bust two men for selling $60 worth of methamphetamine, but things didn’t go as planned.
An Albuquerque police lieutenant shot a fellow officer who was working undercover in a McDonald’s parking lot near Central and Tramway just before noon Friday.
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said Saturday the male officer remained in critical condition at University of New Mexico Hospital. He is in the intensive care unit and has undergone multiple surgeries.
According to the criminal complaint:
…undercover detectives Jacob Grant and Holly Garcia were trying to buy $60 worth of meth from Edmond Vester and Damien Bailey. The detectives picked up Vester and Bailey and headed over to a motel by Tramway Boulevard and Central Avenue to buy the drugs.
Garcia was driving, Bailey was seated in the front passenger side and Vester sat in the rear passenger seat.
The complaint stated that Vester went into the motel to get the drugs and then returned to the car. Once Garcia was given the drugs, she signaled for the other officers to come in and make the arrests.
Witnesses said they saw officers swarm the vehicle and then heard at least four gunshots. The undercover officer was rushed to the hospital.
Yesterday, the city settled with Grant, who was the detective shot – at least eight times – by Greg Brachle, his own lieutenant.
Today, the lapel camera video from the incident was released.
Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers. Although it is blurred, it does show the shooting.
The video shows Brachle getting out of the truck and approaching the vehicle targeted in the sting. Moments later, he opens the back door of the car and fires several shots.
Brachle appears to scream out in fear and shock after realizing he’d shot one of his own.
“I’m sorry,” Brachle screams. “I didn’t know it was you … I thought you were a bad guy.”
Grant has undergone multiple surgeries, and has been in and out of a hospital since the incident. He and the city settled the lawsuit for $6.5 million this week.
Grant said because of the settlement, all the donations given to his family will be set aside for other injured officers and charities.
“We are hopeful that this incident will be positively used to improve law enforcement training, practices, policies and procedures,” Grant said.
Edward Harness of The Police Oversight Agency said that Brachle made mistakes that could have been prevented using common sense, reportsKOAT:
Brachle, Grant’s supervisor, didn’t attend a briefing for the drug bust, and responded for some reason when he found out the bust was happening.
Without knowing specific details of the operation, Brachle interjected and shot Grant who was sitting in the back of the car behind the driver.
Brachle shot Grant when Grant pulled a gun on one of the suspects. Harness says that it is standard operating procedure that a cop drive a bust car and that their partner sit behind them for safety.
Harness says Brachle had done hundreds of drug busts and should have known where Grant was sitting. He also should have known that Grant would be armed.
“It should have been evident to Brachle where Grant was in that car,” Harness said.
The court documents state that there was no threat, and “rather than cease fire, Lt. Brachle instead re-positioned himself…and continued to fire,” shooting until his gun was empty.