New Mexico police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter following February arrest that ended with suspect’s death. KOB’s Nathan O’Neal reports.
(KOB/NBC Newschannel) – A New Mexico police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter following the February death of a suspect detained with a chokehold.
Newly obtained body camera video shows the moments leading up to Antonio Valenzuela’s death.
Valenzuela was pulled over by Las Cruces police on February 29th.
During the stop, police learned Valenzuela had a warrant for a probation and parole violation. At that point he flees on foot.
Police video shows officers using tasers, at least twice, to try to stop Valenzuela, but they didn’t work.
Eventually they catch up with Valenzuela and get him to the ground.
The struggle lasts for more than four minutes.
“I’m going to (expletive) choke you out,” officer Christopher Smelser tells Valenzuela.
Valenzuela can be heard gasping for air.
He eventually died at the scene.
According to internal police records, Smelser used a lateral vascular neck restraint, a maneuver with a controversial history.
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