US Supreme Court Takes Up Motorist Shooting Case from New Mexico

The US Supreme Court is poised to decide whether police can be held accountable for shooting an innocent motorist. The high court justices agreed to take up the case of Roxanne Torres, who was shot twice by Albuquerque, New Mexico police as she sat in her Toyota in an apartment parking lot on July 15, 2014, after having dropped off a friend.

Four New Mexico state police officers had staked out the area, hoping to serve a warrant on Kayenta Jackson. Officers Janice Madrid and Richard Williamson were wearing black tactical gear, and Torres did not recognize them as police when they came and tried to open the locked door of the Toyota unannounced.

Thinking she was about to be carjacked, Torres decided to drive forward to get away. The officers claimed they were in danger — even though neither was in the vehicle’s path. They fired thirteen 9mm rounds into the Toyota, striking Torres twice. Wounded, Torres continued driving out of the complex until she reached the hospital in Grants. The officers decided to charge Torres with assault and fleeing a police officer. Torres decided to fight back by suing them for violating her constitutional rights.