Det. in APD wrongful death case to take the stand

Posted at: 03/11/2013 9:15 AM
Updated at: 03/11/2013 9:56 AM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Kenneth Ellis III
Photo: Kenneth Ellis III

In the trial's third day, Det. Brett Lampiris-Tremba, the officer who shot and killed Iraq War veteran Kenneth Ellis III as Ellis was circling with a gun to his head and  phone to his ear talking to his mother, will take the stand Monday for testimony in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque.

This comes after two days of opening statements and testimonies questioning the city's choice to hire and keep Lampiris-Tremba on the force.

On Thursday, an attorney for the Ellis family argued that he'd been written up by the department multiple times beforehand and that should have been a red flag.

On Friday, a former police chief from North Carolina hired as an expert witness for the side of the Ellis family pointed out the fact that when initially interviewed, he wasn't hired, and claimed the department shouldn't have changed its decision.

This particular lawsuit is not over whether Lampiris-Tremba was in the right or wrong; the shooting was already declared justified by an investigative jury and then determined unconstitutional and unjustified by District Court Judge Shannon Bacon.

The question is whether the city made mistakes that led to the shooting and, if so, how much they owe Ellis' 7-year-old son Kenneth Ellis IV. That amount is partially determined by how much Ellis' life was worth.

Several issues have come to the forefront during the course of the lawsuit so far. These issues include whether the city was wrong to hire Ellis in the first place, if they should have kept him on, and whether officers on scene had enough Crisis Intervention Training.