Video depicts chaotic scene as lieutenant shoots colleague

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2016 4:35 PM
Video depicts chaotic scene as lieutenant shoots colleague

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have released body camera video from an undercover drug bust that shows a chaotic and emotional scene unfold as a lieutenant mistakenly shoots a fellow detective, hitting him eight times and damaging most of his vital organs.

The video was made public late Thursday, a day after the city announced a $6.5 million settlement with Jacob Grant, who has had more than a dozen surgeries and faces more medical problems as result of the shooting. The city agreed to pay the detective's medical expenses for life.

The video shows officers on Jan. 9, 2015, descending upon a car that contained Grant, another undercover officer and two suspects from whom they were going to buy $60 worth of drugs.

Grant's supervisor, now-retired Lt. Greg Brachle, approaches and opens the rear passenger door where Grant is sitting. He yells "gun, gun, gun" and begins shooting.

After ducking behind his truck, Brachle remerges and another officer says it was Grant who was shot. Brachle realizes the mistake and begins to yell obscenities and curse at himself.

Brachle asks Grant if he's OK and the detective answers no. He then helps Grant out of the car and lays him down on the pavement in the parking lot of the fast-food restaurant where the bust went down.

"I'm sorry man. I didn't know it was you," Brachle tells the detective.

In distress, Brachle repeatedly screams Grant's name as other officers call for paramedics.

"Jacob, man, hang in there bro. I thought you were a bad guy," Brachle said before running back to his truck and grabbing a medical kit.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden in a statement described the shooting as a tragedy and said the community and the department were deeply affected.

"As hard as it is to watch and review this video, it is imperative we learn from it," the chief said. "We immediately upgraded undercover officers' training and equipment following this operation and improved supervision, communication and our procedures."

Brachle — who retired before a police oversight board recommended that he be fired for violating numerous policies — had missed a pre-operation briefing the morning of the planned bust.

Brachle's lapel camera shows him driving to the scene. On the police radio, detectives are heard describing what the two suspects are wearing and where they are sitting in the car.

The video also shows the chaos that ensues following the shooting. Brachle and other officers are using special seals to treat Grant's gunshot wounds before he's taken by ambulance to University of New Mexico Hospital.

The district attorney's office is still reviewing the video and other evidence to determine if Brachle will face any charges.

The shooting came just days after another Albuquerque police officer was shot and wounded by a suspect during a traffic stop and as the city and the U.S. Justice Department worked to finalize an agreement to overhaul the police department following a harsh report on its use of force.

As for undercover operations, the department said there is a new system in place for tracking all training, more training has been requested and new take-down tactics have been adopted as well as a new method for assessing threats during such operations.