Family lawyer of teen killed in SWAT standoff says city taking too long to hand over evidence

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – It’s been six months since a teen was killed in a SWAT standoff. Now, his family’s attorney said they’re still working to get what they need to file a wrongful death lawsuit and claimed the city is not coming through with all the information they are requesting.

The legal team of Brett Rosenau’s family said they had only received a small amount of the evidence they requested. The family filed a public information request violation lawsuit in August, claiming the city is withholding information on the SWAT situation that led to the death of 15-year-old Brett Rosenau.

“We’re currently litigating it now, and we’re hoping that the judge will help us get the information we’re seeking in the near future,” said Taylor Smith, the attorney representing Rosenau’s family.

Rosenau died after that standoff turned into a fire; an investigation later showed the fire was likely caused by a pepper spray canister used by law enforcement.

The family‘s attorney said that every other agency they have filed a records request with, including the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, which aided the Albuquerque Police Department on that SWAT callout, has turned over what they had asked for.

“Anytime we’ve asked the city for answers as to why it’s taking so long, I would refer to this gaslighting, you know, they tend to tell us that we are asking for too much information too quickly.”

In court Tuesday, the city responded to the defense’s request for a motion to compel, saying they’ve told the attorney it will take a long time to process the request because of how big it is.

The city said the initial request was submitted on July 12, just days after the incident, and that they told the family it would take longer. The suit was then filed on August 3.

According to that response in court, the city said they have close to 300 videos, which are 8 to 10 hours long, which need to be sifted through and properly redacted. They said that a request with those lengths of video would take months to produce.

The city also said that everything that is available has been properly redacted, has been handed over, and no request has been denied. It said its IPRA staff continues to prepare the rest of the family’s requests.

In December, Brett Rosenau’s aunt also filed a lawsuit against the city and Albuquerque police, claiming a violation of public records law.

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