Warning: the video above contains graphic footage.
In newly released lapel camera footage, former Albuquerque police officer Jacob Grant can be seen being fired upon by his own lieutenant in an undercover drug bust gone horribly wrong. “I’m sorry, man,” the lieutenant, Greg Brachle, can be heard saying the video. “I didn’t know it was you.”
The video was released late Thursday by Albuquerque police following the settlement of Grant's $6.5 million lawsuit against the city for the January 2015 sting operation. Grant and another undercover cop were attempting to buy $60 of methamphetamine from two purported drug dealers, and had pulled an unmarked police vehicle into a McDonald's parking lot. The officers gave the signal for others to swoop in and make the arrests, describing the suspects over the radio.
That's when Brachle, who department officials said "missed a briefing" on the operation, drove up in his truck and approached Grant and the other officer, mistaking them for the suspected drug dealers. His body camera on, Brachle fires eight times on Grant, unloading, the Albuquerque Journal reports, a magazine "filled with .45-caliber, hollow-point bullets."
“Oh … that was Jacob,” Brachle can be heard saying.
According to the Journal, Grant sustained injuries to most of his vital organs, and underwent 13 surgeries—his lawsuit alleges he will face medical problems for the rest of his life. The paper also reported Grant, 38, will "receive lifetime coverage for medical expenses and disability retirement."
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Edward Harness, the police department's executive director, told KOAT that Brachle "made several mistakes that could have been prevented using common sense":
Brachle, Grant's supervisor, didn't attend a briefing for the drug bust, and responded for some reason when he found out the bust was happening.
Without knowing specific details of the operation, Brachle interjected and shot Grant who was sitting in the back of the car behind the driver.
Brachle shot Grant when Grant pulled a gun on one of the suspects. Harness says that it is standard operating procedure that a cop drive a bust car and that their partner sit behind them for safety.
Harness says Brachle had done hundreds of drug busts and should have known where Grant was sitting. He also should have known that Grant would be armed.
"It should have been evident to Brachle where Grant was in that car," Harness said.
And as the TV station notes, this isn't the first time Brachle has been accused of being too quick to fire his weapon in the line of duty: He was sued in 2000 for a 1998 case where police responded to a call about a man fighting with his ex-wife and a neighbor. Brachle allegedly shot the unarmed man, who had his hands in the air, as he was leaving.
The department's The Police Oversight Agency recommended that Brachle be fired for Grant's shooting—but Brachle apparently resigned from his position before he could be terminated. According to KOAT, the Albuquerque police paid out $40 million in lawsuits against the department since 2010.
Aleksander Chan is Fusion's News Director.