The New Mexico Department of Justice declined to file charges against police officers who went to the wrong address during a call last year and fatally shot the homeowner as he opened the door armed with ‘gun.
The Justice Department said that after review, “there is no basis to bring criminal charges” against three Farmington police officers.
The fatal filming by Robert Dotson52, April 5 prompted an apology from Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe, who called it a tragedy.
Police were responding to a call about domestic violence at a home around 11:30 that evening, but they made a mistake. I went to another house across the street, officials said.
Video released by police shows the officers discussing whether they were at the correct address before the door opened and the shooting occurred.
The state Department of Justice review included a report from Seth W. Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, whom the state attorney general’s office hired to review shooting.
Stoughton written in his report that the way the officers approached the Dotsons’ home was reasonable, even though they approached the wrong home.
“In this case, Mr. Dotson opened the front door and storm door, then partially exited the home while raising a firearm in a firing position, pointed in the direction of the officers,” Stoughton wrote .
The state Department of Justice informed the local prosecutor and Hebbe, the police chief, of its decision Friday, the department said in a statement.
Department prosecutors also met with members of Dotson’s family to explain the decision, the release said.
Dotson was a longtime auto mechanic and a passionate family man, his wife said. A lawyer for the family, who sued the city of Farmington and the three officers involved, said Dotson was blinded by a flashlight when he opened the door.