VIDEO: Body Camera Footage Released in Officer-Involved Hospital Shooting
The video was released at the conclusion of the state police investigation and was previously shown to the victim’s family.
A New Mexico police department released a video showing the Sept. 6 officer-involved shooting of a man in police custody that attempted to escape a local hospital.
The Farmington Police Department released the video after being informed that the New Mexico State Police investigation had been completed.
The footage shows Officer David Rock transporting Heriberto Nava-Martinez in San Juan Regional Medical Center around 10 p.m. MST. Nava-Martinez had just been taken into police custody after allegedly crashing a stolen pickup truck into the front gates of a Farmington business then driving the truck erratically up and down the street, according to daily-times.com.
Nava-Martinez, 23, was taken to the medical center to have his blood tested for drugs and alcohol.
The beginning of the eight-minute video shows Officer Rock realizing he is unable to handcuff Nava-Martinez to the wheelchair he’s transporting the suspect in. After speaking to the suspect in Spanish Officer Rock says “The hospital is locked, so even if you try to run, you can’t get out. OK? So don’t try to run.”
Minutes later, a struggle breaks out as Nava-Martinez can be seen alternately lunging at the officer and running to hide behind a corner of the hallway. Officer Rock fires at least three shots at the suspect in a tense span of seconds as he orders Nava-Martinez to get on the ground.
After the third round of gunfire Nava-Martinez drops to the ground and Officer Rock can be seen handcuffing the suspect as he calls for help. An activated Taser is visible next to Nava-Martinez.
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien said his current opinion is that the shooting was justified, although he is still waiting for the results of certain medical records. “I don’t see anything in the medical records that would change what you see and what you hear in the video,” O’Brien added.
Nava-Martinez’s blood test was positive for both methamphetamine and marijuana. The suspect was in critical condition for several days after the incident.
Since the shooting the hospital and police department has considered changing its policies on the use of restraint for patients in police custody. “We are going to be far more cautious going forward on whether prisoners are handcuffed or not,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said.
The body camera video is included below.