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A late-night traffic stop culminated in two Las Cruces men being detained for three hours after an unintentional gunshot struck the passenger side of the vehicle, according to a civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
Keith Anderson and Carlos Cooper were leaving the Solano Square Shopping Center in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 22, 2018. At the time, the shopping center was the location of the Warehouse Bar, where a physical altercation had taken place that night.
Immediately after Las Cruces police stopped their vehicle, Anderson and Cooper claim Officer Jeremiah McDaniel drew his service weapon and fired on them.
Police body cam footage obtained by the Sun-News shows McDaniel opening the door of his unit, raising his weapon with it pointed toward the vehicle, and immediately firing a shot. The officer is heard saying, “I just ND’d — it was me,” using a term for negligent discharge, before ordering the vehicle’s occupants to raise their hands.
The complaint then alleges that LCPD Officer Vincent Shadd ordered them out of their car at gunpoint despite knowing about the discharge. The two men say they were detained for more than three hours before telling them to “go home.”
Both officers are named, along with the Las Cruces Police Department and the city of Las Cruces, in the civil complaint.
In the video, McDaniel is heard telling another officer, “I thought it was a battery, so I cleared it, so there’s a couple of live rounds, and there should be one shell casing.”
Anderson and Cooper claim in their complaint that they found a bullet hole over the car’s windshield on the passenger side, near where Anderson had been sitting, and that a bullet was subsequently retrieved.
While there were no physical injuries, the lawsuit claims both men have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the gunshot. They are seeking unspecified damages for claims including violation of due process, excessive use of force, two counts of negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault, false arrest. and negligent supervision and training.