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Posted by Taylor Smith | Aug 19, 2022

After an hours-long standoff at a home in Albuquerque on July 6, 2022, during which the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) repeatedly threw smoke grenades and flash bangs into the home, which ultimately caused a fire that destroyed the home, fifteen-year-old Brett Rosenau was found inside the home, having died from smoke inhalation. The incident started as officers searched for a man named Quiant Kelley, who was alleged to have violated the terms of his probation. Brett and Mr. Kelley were inside the home during the standoff. APD Chief Harold Medina has acknowledged that the devices the police threw into the home may have caused the fire. A multi-agency investigation is underway, the results of which APD is required to share with the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the terms of a 2014 settlement agreement arising from a DOJ investigation that found a pattern or practice of use of excessive force by the APD. Rothstein Donatelli attorneys Carey Bhalla and Taylor Smith, who represent Brett's family, describe APD's and BSCO's conduct on July 6 as “tragic and completely avoidable,” noting that the police had every opportunity to save Brett's life but chose inaction, leaving Brett's family and community without him.

New York Times article

Albuquerque Journal coverage of the standoff

Albuquerque Police Department statement

NYT coverage of results of 2014 DOJ investigation into APD

About the Author

Taylor Smith

Attorney - Albuquerque Office