Mitnik survived but would be wounded for life. Now he and his family are suing the City of Albuquerque and the officer who shot him, saying it should never have happened.
The lawsuit was filed January 6 in District Court. The real purpose is to make sure what happened to Mitnik doesn’t happen to another family.
When his family appealed for help in June 2020, they believed the city should have had a non-law enforcement response. A family lawyer said Mitnik is not dangerous and he has not committed a crime.
Now they want change.
Ryan Villa, the lawyer representing the family, said: “He is still recovering. “He is still undergoing physical therapy, movement therapy. His life will never be the same.”
The lawsuit alleges the shooting was unnecessary.
“This is the first interaction. He has never had any law enforcement contact, never had any problems, criminal charges,” Villa said. “This is his first time communicating with the police.”
Lapel video from that day shows Albuquerque police responding to their Tanoan neighborhood in June 2020. Mitnik’s parents called police to say their son had schizophrenia and was in have a mental health crisis. They also warn that Mitnik is worried that he will hurt his parents.
The aim is to get him to the hospital.
Several times during the interaction, Mitnik refused to go to the hospital with the officers. In the end, the documents say he took a knife and went to the bathroom.
Albuquerque police said that when he stepped out of the bathroom, Mitnik raised the knife as he walked towards the officer. The APD said the officer felt he was about to be chopped off and killed. Mitnik was shot twice.
“Gambit of those feelings. I mean feeling guilty at first because yeah, they think they’re just there for help,” Villa said. “Frustration and anger about what happened and the hurt. stood right next to him when he was shot in the head.”
KOB 4 has contacted the city as well as the APD – officials say they have not been served and they will answer those allegations in court.
To read the petition, click here.
https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/lawsuit-man-was-shot-in-the-head-by-albuquerque-police-officer-after-call-for-help/6352526/?cat=500 Lawsuit: Man shot in the head by Albuquerque police after calling for help