APD speaks out about AG's claims

Posted at: 08/16/2013 10:15 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Albuquerque Police Department fired back at Attorney General Gary King Friday after King claimed police botched the investigation into the death of high profile lawyer Mary Han in 2010. Now the Attorney General wants to do a new investigation.

Civil rights attorney Mary Han was involved in a lawsuit with APD when she died. She was suing the police department on behalf of several women accused of prostitution. She was found dead at home in her car, which was turned off but had been running. Her death was quickly ruled a suicide, but her friends and family have never believed it.

Since Mary Han’s death in 2010, her family has wanted three things.

“Answers, justice, accountability,” Han family attorney Rosario Vega-Lynn said.

Today, they believe they’re one step closer to that, as the Attorney General tries to turn a cold case into a call for tips.

"I have this feeling that there's somebody out there that knows something,” King said.

The Attorney General says APD called her death suicide too quickly, that there were too many high-ranking police and city officials interfering at the scene, and that important items were removed from the scene that could have been used as evidence.

Acting APD Chief Allen Banks, who was there at the scene that day, disagrees.

“I stand behind the investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department,” Banks said. “I also stand behind the investigation of the state office of the medical investigator. I'm kind of surprised and perplexed at the way the Attorney General sent out a news release and has not contacted the Albuquerque Police Department.”

The city attorney also called the Attorney General’s involvement suspicious, but Han’s family says they’re not looking for a political battle.

“What they are asking for is justice for their sister who fought for justice for her clients while she was here,” Vega-Lynn said.

They just want a second look at a death they won’t believe Han caused herself.

“Anybody who came across Ms. Han in any way, if they were to ask themselves would Mary commit suicide, those who knew her well enough would have to answer no,” Vega-Lynn said.

They ask anyone with insight on the circumstances of Han’s death to contact the Attorney General’s office.