Independent news has never been so important.

Did you know that you can get Democracy Now! delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

New Mexico Officer Charged with Killing Man in Neck Restraint During Traffic Stop

HeadlineJun 09, 2020

In New Mexico, a Las Cruces police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of a man after a traffic stop in February. The officer, Christopher Smelser, remains free on bail. He is accused of killing Antonio Valenzuela by placing him in a neck restraint. Smelser is heard on a newly released lapel video telling Valenzuela, “I’m going to [expletive] choke you out, bro.” Even after Valenzuela lost consciousness, the video shows Smelser made no attempt to help him. Instead he is heard describing his encounter with Valenzuela as a “good little fight.” Antonio Valenzuela was a father of four who worked as a painter. According to The Washington Post, Las Cruces, New Mexico, had the highest rate of police killings of any city in the country between 2015 and 2019.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top